Health & Wellness, Nutrition

What Is Mushroom Coffee? Is It Just Hype? (+6 Potential Mushroom Coffee Benefits)

I have to admit that the first time I heard about mushroom coffee I was a little skeptical. Mushrooms floating in my coffee? That did not sound appetizing. But I gave it a try and guess what? It turns out that not only is mushroom coffee actually quite tasty (it tastes a lot like regular coffee), but there are also several potential mushroom coffee benefits. Who knew?!

While some of you may have heard of mushroom coffee, this may be something brand new to others, as it was to me. Either way, I wanted to share with you some of the facts and potential health benefits of mushroom coffee. Find out if you’re ready to try trading in your regular cup of joe or morning latte for some mushroom coffee!

 

What Is Mushroom Coffee?

Mushroom coffee consists of dried, ground mushrooms blended together with ground coffee. But these aren’t just any old mushrooms (and they aren’t psychedelic mushrooms, or “ ’shrooms,” either!). Various medicinal mushrooms are used to make mushroom coffee.

The mushrooms typically used in mushroom coffee include one or more of the following: Lion’s Mane, Reishi, Cordyceps, and Chaga mushrooms. These mushrooms have a milder, “earthy” flavor compared to many other kinds of mushrooms, which helps them to blend in better with the coffee flavor.

A few other quick facts about mushroom coffee:

  • A cup of mushroom coffee contains about half as much caffeine (or less, depending on the brand) as regular coffee.
  • To make mushroom coffee, you follow the same steps you would normally take to brew a regular cup of coffee with hot water.
  • The first brand of mushroom coffee on the market was Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee Mix, but there are now many other mushroom coffee brands and products available as well. Some brands also blend in other herbs and spices.
  • You can purchase mushroom coffee online or at most stores where health food products are sold.

 

6 Potential Mushroom Coffee Benefits

If you’re a regular coffee drinker, drinking mushroom coffee on a daily basis may have several added health benefits for you.

The medicinal mushrooms blended into mushroom coffee contain significant amounts of antioxidants, plus they are a good source of several vitamins and minerals including selenium, potassium, and copper. They also contain calcium, which helps to support bone and joint health. [1, 2, 3]

Many claims have been made about specific health benefits of medicinal mushrooms and mushroom coffee. In general, the high volume of antioxidants found in medicinal mushrooms provide the foundation for many of their potential health benefits. [4]

Keep in mind that mushroom coffee has not been evaluated by the FDA, and the majority of studies available are lab and animal studies. More clinical studies on humans are needed to verify these health benefits for humans.

Current research shows that medicinal mushrooms—and by extension, mushroom coffee— may help to provide the following health benefits:

 

1. Possibly provide anticancer benefits

Many studies have shown that some medicinal mushrooms, particularly Reishi mushrooms, may provide some preventative and inhibitory anticancer benefits. In fact, there is even a growing area of cancer research known as “cancer fungotherapy,” which focuses on developing antitumor therapies from mushrooms. [5, 6]

A Japanese study showed promising results for using Reishi mushroom extracts to help treat colorectal adenomas. Study participants treated with the extract showed fewer and smaller adenomas than the control group at 12 months after receiving the treatment. [7]

Other clinical trials have shown that Reishi may be helpful as a complementary therapy used in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Treatments that included Reishi extracts were 1.25 times more likely to result in a better tumor result than those in control groups. Reishi extracts also helped to provide immune system support during cancer treatment. [8]

Most current research is focused on lab and animal studies and more clinical trials are needed to draw better conclusions about how medicinal mushrooms can provide anticancer benefits.

 

2. Improve the gut microbiota

Studies have shown that several medicinal mushrooms, especially Reishi, Chaga, and Maitake, can help to provide important prebiotic material for the digestive system. The high nutritive content of these mushrooms plus antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties appear to help to support the good bacteria in the gut microbiota and promote healthy digestion. [9]

 

3. Support the immune system

Many of the same properties found in medicinal mushrooms that allow them to help create a healthy gut microbiota also in turn help to support the body’s immune system. They also contain important minerals for proper immune function.

 

4. Improve the cardiovascular system

Of the medicinal mushrooms often found in mushroom coffee, Cordyceps and Reishi mushrooms, in particular, have been shown to help support cardiovascular health in both animal studies and some limited clinical trials. Studies have shown that medicinal mushrooms may help to limit inflammation, reduce atherosclerosis (hardening of the blood vessels), and lower blood pressure. [10, 11]

 

5. Protect the liver

Several studies have shown that many medicinal and edible mushrooms can help support liver health and reduce liver damage. The medicinal mushrooms that have these properties and are also often found in mushroom coffee include Reishi and Cordyceps mushrooms. [12, 13]

 

6. Boost energy levels

If you’re struggling with fatigue, medicinal mushrooms, and mushroom coffee, may be able to help. In fact, when I drank mushroom coffee for the first time, I felt like I had more sustained energy throughout the day than my usual cup of joe. Many of the properties of medicinal mushroom extracts that may provide other health benefits can also help to provide antifatigue effects as well. The “antifatigue activities” of medicinal mushrooms within the cardiovascular system and immune system, plus antioxidant and hormonal effects may provide a boost in energy levels. [14]

 

Key Takeaways

  • Mushroom coffee is a blend of dried, ground medicinal mushrooms and coffee.
  • You make mushroom coffee the same way you brew a regular cup of coffee.
  • The potential benefits of mushroom coffee include helping to lower anxiety, support the adrenal glands, support the immune system, boost energy, and provide possible anticancer benefits.
  • Mushroom coffee has not been evaluated by the FDA and more research is needed to confirm many of the reported health benefits.

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