The Health Benefits of Switching to Mushroom Coffee
- Written By:Jessie Quinn
We’ll admit it: When we pour ourselves a morning cup of coffee, we usually have one thing on our minds: Caffeine. And, while the caffeine in coffee comes with some health benefits like improved brain function, a metabolism boost, and even protection against diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, there are ways to up the ante on our morning cuppa. Enter: Mushrooms. These fungi have been taking up space on our planet for around 800 million years and — thanks to several superfood trends — are more popular than ever.
One superfood trend giving mushrooms a boost in popularity is mushroom coffee. With brands like Four Sigmatic and Clevr bringing mushroom coffee to the forefront of wellness, mushrooms and their health benefits are having a moment. Here's why adding mushrooms to coffee is a game-changer for health:
Types of Mushrooms to Add to Coffee
Mushrooms are ancient superfoods that have been appreciated for their health benefits in cultures around the world. According to Jennifer Maeng, MS, RD, CDN, CNSC a registered dietitian and founder of Chelsea Nutrition, the most common types of mushrooms in coffee are reishi, chaga, lion’s mane, and cordyceps. And, you might find beneficial mushrooms like turkey’s tail mixed in, too.
Reishi: This is one of the more common mushrooms found in mushroom coffee and it is specifically known for anticancer properties.
Cordycep: According to Maeng, this fungi superfood is also known for anticancer properties. It can also naturally boost energy levels.
Chaga: This type of mushroom is “potentially found to reduce tumor growth,” says Maeng. Additionally, it can lower cholesterol levels and fight inflammation in the body.
Lion’s Mane: Known for their bushy appearance, this type of mushroom is “associated with reduction in depression, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Parkinson’s Disease,” says Maeng.
Turkey’s Tail: A natural immunity booster, this mushroom is great for warding off seasonal colds and can also help “improve the gut microbiome.”
How Mushrooms Enhance Coffee for Added Health Perks
Combining the benefits of coffee with the benefits of mushrooms comes with a host of healthy perks. “Both mushrooms and coffee contain high levels of antioxidants, proving mushroom-infused coffee to be a high antioxidant drink,” notes Maeng. “This has loads of benefits such as increasing immunity,” she adds. Consuming antioxidants are also known to help ward of environmental aggressors such as pollution that can lead to signs of aging. On top of that, mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D and are “acclaimed for their fiber, vitamin, and mineral content.”
While it might sound contrary, mushroom coffee actually has the potential to improve sleep, Maeng explains. It can also “support memory, reduce inflammation, and increase energy,” as well as reduce stress levels. And, of course, each type of mushroom comes with its own list of benefits, which can add a customization layer to your morning cup of Joe.
What to Look for When Buying Mushroom Coffee
As far as making mushroom coffee goes, Maeng says it’s better to buy a blend versus trying to make it yourself. “In order to make mushroom coffee, the mushrooms go through a drying process and extraction process to include the most beneficial components in the coffee,” she explains, adding that the mushrooms are usually included as “mushroom extract,” which maintains the coffee taste.
Before reaching for a bag or jar of store-bought mushroom coffee, Maeng says there are a few things to look for. “Make sure to check the kinds of mushrooms included in the powders,” she notes. The most common types of mushrooms in mushroom coffee are reishi, chaga, lion’s mane, and turkey’s tail. “Some powders may contain only trace amounts of mushrooms, so it is important to be mindful of powders that contain substantial amounts of mushroom extract or powder to obtain the highest benefit,” Maeng adds.
As with any store-bought item, it’s also a good idea to be mindful of any potential added sugars or chemicals. Some mushroom coffees are sold as latte mixes and might contain higher levels of sugar.