The NFM Blog

Mushroom Coffee: Understanding Its Benefits and Downsides

Yet another trendy food item with a slew of health benefits has hit everyone’s radar. From ACV to Sea Moss, now it is Mushroom Coffee. This trendy brew has become a hot topic and is touted as the better alternative to regular coffee.

However, is the jury still out? Let's unpack what Mushroom Coffee is, look at the benefits, and explore any possible downsides, if any.

This isn’t like an industry plant where it suddenly appeared out of nowhere, no pun intended. 

The use of coffee and mushrooms dates back hundreds of years and has been used as a tool for wellness therapy although separately, and combining these two ingredients was fairly recent. There have been instances where Mushrooms were also used as an alternative in Finland during World War II when there was a shortage of coffee beans.

What is Mushroom Coffee?

Mushroom Coffee is simply a blend of ground coffee beans with powdered medicinal mushrooms. Mushrooms like Reishi, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, Chaga, and Turkey Tail. In contrast to regular coffee, Mushroom Coffee offers a nuttier and more complex taste profile along with that it provides a balanced caffeine dosage that eliminates any jitters or crashes. 

These coffee blends come in various forms like coffee pods, instant brew bags, ground blends, and powder formats.

The Making of Mushroom Coffee - The FUNgus in your cup

The steps involved are as follows, dehydrating the mushrooms through a drying process and grinding them into a dust or a fine powder. The mushroom powder is then mixed with high-quality coffee grounds which creates Mushroom Coffee.

To make a Mushroom Coffee is fairly similar to making your regular cup of joe so there is pretty much no learning curve to it. 

What gives this brew an edge over coffee is the adaptogens –  bioactive compounds extracted from the medicinal mushrooms – which are believed to contribute to the unique health benefits of mushroom coffee.

Key Benefits of Mushroom Coffee

Mushroom Coffee boasts several key benefits, here is a breakdown of it.

  • As prefaced before it provides a Natural Energy Boost meaning the surge in energy provided is sustained without jitters or crashes 
  • Mental clarity, concentration, and focus are effects of Mushroom Coffee according to Mary Sabat, a dietician and a personal trainer. The mushroom in focus was Lion’s Mane which showed signs of an increase in the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), which is a type of protein that plays a role in the development of neurons. 
  • The caffeine boost provided by the brew is also considered to be a great alternative to the sugary and highly caffeinated pre-workouts. 
  • It helps to destress, improve sleep, and strengthen the immune system 

Science and Skepticism:  Health Claims & Scientific Evidence

While some of the claimed benefits sound promising, it's important to acknowledge the scientific uncertainties. Research on mushroom coffee is an ongoing process, and there's limited evidence to definitively prove all the health claims especially when it comes to mushroom coffee blends. However, experts generally agree that mushrooms offer various health benefits.

Potential Downsides

Before brewing that wonderful cup of coffee and mushrooms, consider these potential downsides:

  • Digestive Issues: Some mushrooms are high in oxalates, which can cause digestive problems or kidney issues for people at risk.
  • Price Point: Mushroom coffee tends to be more expensive than traditional coffee. So you technically get more bang for your buck through regular coffee, since the drink has become a fad a higher markup is expected. 
  • Limited Research: The long-term health effects of regular mushroom coffee consumption remain unclear.

Nutrition First

Remember, consuming fresh mushrooms or mushroom extracts offers numerous dietary benefits. 

It's always best to consult with a healthcare professional before integrating mushroom coffee into your routine, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

To Drink or Not to Drink? The Choice is Yours

Ultimately, the decision of whether to try mushroom coffee depends on your individual needs and preferences. Coffee and Mushrooms may not be your thing or fit your taste profile. 

If you're curious, consider trying the Mushroom Powders on its own first, it’s a great way to introduce mushrooms and their benefits into your diet seamlessly without the need for coffee especially if you are not a huge fan of coffee. 

Or you could eat whole mushrooms, there is often a divide amongst people on whether they like mushrooms as a dish by itself, the choice is yours, whole mushrooms are an excellent source of fiber.

Conclusion: Weighing out the options

Coffee and mushroom when fused give you this complex brew of Mushroom Coffee, it provides a new avenue for people to try a substitute for regular coffee but also for its potential health benefits. 

While research is ongoing, the lack of long-term studies warrants a cautious approach to this brew.

When choosing mushroom coffee, prioritize well-regarded brands and prioritize whole mushroom consumption for a more balanced fiber intake.

If you are not a fan of the entire coffee and mushroom combo, alternatives like Mushroom Adaptogen Powders work just as well. It not only has a balanced blend of medicinal mushrooms but also has active ingredients like ashwagandha.

Remember, at the end of the day, a healthy lifestyle goes beyond trendy drinks. Eating a balanced diet, prioritizing restful sleep, and managing stress for optimal well-being is what helps ultimately.