7 Health Benefits of Mushroom Coffee & 5 Hacks
Mushroom coffee dates back all the way to World War II, when it was first found to be a reasonable coffee substitute. In this article we’ll look into the different types of mushroom coffee available, and how they may contribute to your overall health.
A wide variety of mushroom coffees are now available to buy and make. They’re usually made up of a blend of ground, dehydrated mushrooms and regular coffee beans.
There are a few different varieties of medicinal mushrooms used in the creation of these blends. The people of Finland were amongst the first to reinvent their coffee by using mushrooms.
Modern mushroom coffee, however, is so much more than just a flavorful substitute to your regular cup of hot java. It offers a range of health benefits that will surprise you.
What Mushroom Coffee Is: Interesting Facts
One of the most interesting facts about mushroom coffee is that the adaptogens – the mushrooms – used to produce it can effectively level your cortisol levels.
This makes them a great tool to lower stress levels and increase your overall health. When used in a targeted and moderate way, mushroom coffees can help with all manner of ailments.
There are at least five widely available types found in mushroom coffee powders, with many more being introduced to market all the time.
Origin and Where Mushroom Coffee Comes From
Modern mushroom coffees were invented in Finland some time during World War II due to a scarcity of coffee beans.
Nowadays, the health benefits of various types of medicinal mushrooms are being studied more and more.
People now enjoy mushroom coffee for the added health benefits rather than the flavor alone.
What Mushroom Coffee Is Made Of
There are several types of mushrooms that are dehydrated and sold as coffee alternatives or additives. The most common kinds include chaga, cordyceps, turkey tail, lion’s mane, and reishi.
What Mushroom Coffee Tastes Like
Mushroom coffee tastes quite a lot like regular coffee, seeing as it’s mostly just regular coffee with mushrooms blended in.
Mushrooms can have a slightly earthy, savory taste, which doesn’t really detract from the flavor of the coffee though.
If you find it too savory, adding some honey or brown sugar for sweetness is perfectly fine.
Does Mushroom Coffee Have Caffeine?
Mushroom coffee blends contain regular coffee, so they will still contain some caffeine. The amounts vary depending on the blend you choose to purchase, but overall they’ll contain a lot less caffeine than a regular cup of coffee.
Nutritional Facts and Calories of Mushroom Coffee
Mushrooms have been a valuable part of human diets for thousands of years. They’re known to contain few calories, but plenty of fiber, protein, minerals, and vitamins.
Some of the most common ones include: Vitamins B2, B3, B5, and folate, Vitamin D, Selenium. Copper, Phosphorus and Potassium.
Mushrooms also contain a variety of anti-inflammatory polyphenols, said to be helpful in fighting some types of cancer. They also contain carotenoids, indoles, and polysaccharides.
So as you can see, adding a mushroom blend to your coffee or buying a pre-blended mushroom coffee can offer a wide range of nutritional benefits.
Health Benefits of Drinking Mushroom Coffee
As noted above, there are several different types of medicinal mushrooms available today, with all of them offering a variety of health benefits.
Below are some of the most common benefits you may gain from adding mushroom coffee to your everyday diet.
Find out more about what mushroom works best for what ailment in our ‘hacks’ section further on in this article.
May Improve Your Sleep and Fight Insomnia
Mushroom coffee contains plenty of polyphenols and antioxidants that are said to help improve your sleep quality. This is likely due to their ability to fight free radicals, and help with cell renewal.
Aids in Reducing Stress and Anxiety
Some mushrooms are particularly effective for lowering stress levels and fighting anxiety. Reishi is said to be especially good if you suffer from low mood, insomnia, and stress.
Having less caffeine, which is generally the case for mushroom coffees, also tends to help reduce anxiety levels.
Reduced Inflammation in Your Body
Mushroom coffee contains properties which lower the cortisol levels in your body. It’s also full of polyphenols that are known to reduce inflammation and lower your body’s oxidative stress levels.
Adding mushroom coffee to your diet can help lower overall inflammation, thereby encouraging your body to heal faster during illnesses or when exercising.
Increases Energy Levels Naturally
The antioxidants in mushroom coffee may help in boosting your energy levels.
Paired with some caffeine, which is generally present in mushroom coffee blends, they’re good at naturally increasing your energy levels.
Meanwhile mushroom coffees tend to contain less caffeine than coffee alone, meaning you’re also less likely to overload your system.
Helps Strengthen Your Immune System
Mushroom coffee contains beneficial antioxidants such as polyphenols, which can help give your immune system a boost.
Antioxidants are excellent at fighting and neutralizing free radicals in your body, therefore decreasing the cell damage they may cause.
May Help Fight Some Types of Cancer and Diseases
The previous point is also why mushroom coffee may be beneficial for fighting some types of cancer and other diseases.
Since the antioxidants in mushroom coffee help your body prevent cell damage and fight harmful free radicals, your cells will stay healthier.
This may prevent diseases such as some cancers from taking hold. The anti-inflammatory properties of mushroom coffee are an added benefit here.
Supports Good Memory Functions
Mushroom coffee, particularly when made with lion’s mane mushroom, is said to be great at enhancing your cognitive system.
If you’re looking to improve your memory naturally, mushroom coffee may be a good addition to your diet.
It’s even been suggested that lion’s mane may help fight symptoms of dementia, while also helping reduce low mood and stress associated with the disease.
While mushroom coffees contain plenty of helpful nutrients, there are some groups of people who may wish to avoid them. Generally, as with anything else, this is a case of ‘too much of a good thing.’
If you suffer from certain health conditions or have intolerances, you may wish to keep your mushroom coffee intake to a reasonable minimum.
With that said, enjoying it in moderation should pose little to no problems for most people.
High Levels of Oxalates Can Cause Adverse Reactions
Some mushroom varieties contain high levels of oxalates. This is most notably present in chaga mushrooms.
Oxalates bind themselves to calcium during the digestive process, with excess making its way through your kidneys. Too much can form into harmful kidney stones.
Too Much May Pose Minor Mental Health Risks
Consuming too much mushroom coffee can cause headaches, anxiety, insomnia, and shakiness.
This may be in part due to the caffeine content, and should be preventable by just consuming less.
If you do feel like your body is reacting too strongly to mushroom coffee, you may wish to cut back or swap it for an alternative such as green or oolong tea.
May Cause Digestive Issues
Mushrooms can cause digestive issues in some people.
If you have problems with your kidneys or an intolerance to certain grains, you may find some mushroom coffees difficult to digest.
Again, chaga mushrooms may cause the most problems in this instance. If in doubt, try a small amount of other types of mushroom coffee to see what works best.
Is Mushroom Coffee in Pregnancy Good For You?
Mushroom coffees are considered ‘adaptogenic’ and as such aren’t well researched for use in pregnancy yet. Culinary mushrooms have been studied far more than medicinal mushroom types.
Adaptogens are any medicinal herbs, roots or mushrooms which help our bodies to balance out during or after stressful events.
In principle, this would make mushroom coffee a great addition to a fairly stressful time in life — pregnancy — but they just haven’t been researched much to date.
In addition to this, mushroom coffees do tend to be blends of mushroom powder with actual coffee. Therefore they usually contain varying levels of caffeine.
200 milligrams of caffeine per day are considered the upper limit for pregnant women. This is because too much caffeine can increase your risk of complications such as miscarriage, stillbirth, or low birth weight/size.
One cup of any kind of caffeinated beverage per day is generally considered safe. Just be mindful of your overall caffeine intake per day, including hot drinks and sodas.
Most mushroom coffees appear to be considered safe for use in pregnancy. However, if in doubt, you’d best consult your doctor when it comes to the use of mushroom coffee during pregnancy or when breastfeeding.
Weigh up the pros and cons of adding adaptogenic beverages to your diet, and make an informed decision of what’s best for you and your baby.
Simple Guide for Making the Perfect Mushroom Coffee
One of the best ways to make a perfect mushroom coffee is to buy your mushroom powder blend and coffee separately.
This way, you’re able to better control the flavors and can have the highest quality coffee beans and mushrooms most suited to your needs. You can make this mushroom latte with dairy milk or your favorite plant-based alternative.
Add some optional cocoa powder, cinnamon, and/or maple syrup for a warming seasonal treat. Or top with whipped cream and caramel sauce for a Starbucks-like cup of deliciousness.
- 1 tsp mushroom powder
- 1 tsp of brown sugar
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 1 shot of espresso
And here’s how you do it:
- Heat and steam your milk until foamy and warm. Gently stir in the brown sugar until just blended.
- Stir the mushroom powder into your espresso until blended and lump-free.
- Carefully add the warm milk to your coffee. Enjoy as is, or serve with a topping of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder.
Tips for Drinking and Serving Mushroom Coffee
Mushroom coffee is a fun drink to experiment with at home. There are several delicious varieties available, and you’ll enjoy finding out just what works for you and your diet. Below are some tips to make the most of any kind of mushroom coffee.
Add Honey for Some Sweetness
Did you know that honey offers antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and protective properties that are all great for your overall health?
There’s so much more to honey than just that, but, needless to say, it’s a great addition to any health drink.
Add some honey to your favorite mushroom coffee for added sweetness as well as additional health benefits.
Make a Whipped Mushroom Latte
Follow our easy recipe above to make a creamy mushroom latte with whipped cream on top. Whipped cream and foamed milk add a lovely creaminess to this earthy, energizing drink.
You can even make your mushroom coffee iced, for a delicious cold treat. Add crushed ice and top it with caramel sauce for a mushroom-based frappuccino-style beverage.
Add Extra Spices During Flu Season
Spices are great for adding flavor and warmth to your mushroom coffee. We like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, star anise, ginger, allspice, and cardamom.
Try a variety of different spices for a seasonal mushroom coffee with added benefits. Ginger and cinnamon are particularly good for treating colds and making you feel better when you’re under the weather.
Additional Hacks and Tips
If you’re new to mushroom coffee you may be wondering exactly where to get started. Mushroom coffees are made with a growing variety of ‘adaptogens’, natural ingredients which are meant to help your body deal with any kind of stress.
Different mushroom types have slightly different effects on you. Here are our top tips to help you get started.
Pick the Right Mushroom For You
Some of the main medicinal mushrooms you can find in mushroom powders or coffee preparations include cordyceps, chaga, lion’s mane, and reishi.
Cordyceps is particularly good at relieving chronic fatigue, helping improve energy and athletic performance, and increasing cellular oxygenation.
Lion’s mane is said to be good for your brain, stimulating cell growth, and reducing symptoms of memory loss.
Reishi is good for people suffering from stress, low mood, and insomnia, and is said to lower cortisol and regulate insulin levels.
Chaga offers high levels of antioxidants, which fight free radicals and reduce signs of oxidative stress in the body. This makes it a good mushroom for your immune system and to fight cellular aging.
Consume Your Mushroom Coffee in Moderation
One to two cups of coffee per day are generally a sensible amount to settle with. Most people should probably not have more than three cups of any kind of coffee per day, based on caffeine levels alone.