Mushrooms – A New Coffee Trend

by Elizabeth Vennefron, RDN, LD

Last Updated: July 20, 2021

Whether you are gearing up for a long day or mellowing out on a Saturday morning, a cup of joe is likely nearby. Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages worldwide. Although we’ve been drinking coffee for hundreds of years, new trends still hit the market each year. The newest and likely the oddest sounding is mushroom coffee. In this article, we will grind down what exactly it is, how it’s made, and the potential health benefits.

What is Mushroom Coffee?
Mushroom coffee is black coffee paired with ground-up mushrooms. Not just any mushrooms will do, though. For thousands of years, medicinal mushrooms used in Eastern medicine have been ground up into powders and added to many things, like coffee. The most popular medicinal mushrooms include reishi, Chaga, lions main, cordyceps, and turkey tail. Before you whip out the grinder and toss in these trendy fungi, it’s important to note these medicinal mushrooms must go through a drying and extracting process to pull the beneficial compounds out. Manufacturers have made it easy for those looking to indulge in this trend by blending multiple mushroom extracts with coffee beans into instant packets, ground blends, and pods.

What sets mushroom coffee apart from other trends like the cold brew or nitro is its potential health benefits. Some of the more popular benefits may include immunity support, reduced inflammation, and increased energy levels. One of the main reasons some are switching to mushroom coffee is because it has less caffeine. Caffeine affects us all differently, but for some, less is best as it can help them feel less anxious and sleep better.

Each medicinal mushroom may provide unique health advantages. Still, keep in mind that more research is needed regarding medicinal mushrooms and their impact on overall health. The following list includes different medicinal mushrooms and their potential benefits:

Reishi – Most commonly known for its ability to support immunity in those who are ill through its effects on white blood cells. There’s not enough research on reishi to determine its impact on cholesterol and blood sugar levels. However, it may be effective in relieving anxiety and easing depression in those with fibromyalgia.

ChagaCompounds found in this mushroom can help reduce inflammation. Some studies even show it may effectively prevent cancer and slow tumor growth. Chaga can even impact our intestinal health as it may prevent the growth of certain bacteria that cause stomach ulcers.

Lion’s Main – This antioxidant-rich mushroom is also referred to as the bearded tooth, pom pom, or monkey head mushrooms. What sets this medicinal mushroom apart from others is its ability to stimulate the growth of brain cells. The human studies that have been done show promising results in improving brain function; however, more research is needed.

Cordyceps – Known for its boost in energy and libido, as it increases the production of ATP or energy, helps the body utilize oxygen more efficiently and enhances blood flow. Athletes are drawn to this mushroom because of its ability to improve performance and muscle recovery.

Turkey Tail – This widely researched mushroom is known for supporting immune and gut health. Turkey tail mushrooms contain two polysaccharides – Polysaccharopeptide (PSP) and Polysaccharide-K (PSK). PSK can help stimulate the immune system and has been used in the treatment of cancer in Asia. PSP acts as a prebiotic and feeds the probiotics within our gut.

If you’re not ready to brew up some mushroom coffee but still want to enjoy the nutritional benefits of mushrooms – cook with them! Try mixing them into casseroles, topping your salads, or grilling them with other veggies. Incorporating more mushrooms into your usual eating pattern can provide several key nutrients important for bodily functions, like protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. For more tips and tricks on incorporating mushrooms, schedule a free virtual Telenutrition appointment today!

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Elizabeth Vennefron, RDN, LD

Elizabeth Vennefron, RDN, LD

Elizabeth loves being a dietitian because it connects her two passions- helping people, and healthy living. She’s a walking encyclopedia of better for you foods, meals, and culinary hacks to ensure her patients are enjoying the flavors they love while eating and staying well.