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Mushroom coffee in trending

 Mushroom coffee in trending

Mushroom coffee is considered a healthier alternative to regular coffee, featuring medicinal mushroom extracts and offering additional health benefits.

Although this coffee blend is currently trending, the concept is far from new. According to online sources, mushrooms were used as a coffee substitute in Finland during World War II when coffee beans were scarce. Additionally, mushrooms have a long history of culinary and medicinal use in Asian countries, particularly in Chinese medicine, due to their nutritional and health benefits.

This article explores the evidence on mushroom coffee and provides an expert assessment of its alleged health benefits.

What is Mushroom Coffee?

If you imagine a cup of coffee with mushrooms floating on top, rest assured, that’s not the case. Mushroom coffee is a blend of ground mushrooms and coffee beans that brews into a dark, smooth, and nutty beverage.

Typically, mushroom coffee uses medicinal mushroom extracts rather than culinary mushrooms like shiitake and portobello. Common medicinal mushrooms used in this trendy coffee include:

Turkey tail
Lion’s mane

Many consumer reviews suggest that the flavor profile of mushroom coffee is not significantly different from regular coffee. However, its proposed health benefits, such as reduced anxiety and improved immunity, give it a marketing advantage.

How is Mushroom Coffee Made?

To produce mushroom coffee, the fruiting bodies of the mushrooms are extracted and processed into an organic powder free from fillers, carriers, and other additives. Through a dual extraction process, the mushrooms are dehydrated, ground into a fine powder, and mixed with ground coffee beans, typically in a 1-to-1 ratio.

You can find mushroom coffee in various forms, such as:

Instant coffee packets
Ground coffee blends
Coffee pods
Mushroom coffee can be prepared just like regular coffee to make delicious mochas, lattes, or black coffee drinks.

Lower Caffeine Content

Mushroom coffee blends are marketed as having less caffeine than regular coffee. Caffeine, a psychoactive substance found naturally in coffee beans, cocoa beans, and tea leaves, can also be synthetically added to other foods and beverages.

People who are pregnant or lactating, children, and individuals with underlying heart conditions are more susceptible to the negative side effects of caffeine and should monitor their intake carefully. Although consuming up to 400 mg of caffeine daily is generally not associated with adverse effects, those sensitive to caffeine may experience anxiety, rapid heart rate, upset stomach, and other issues even with lower caffeine intakes.

Typically, in mushroom coffee, the mushroom powder is often combined with an equal amount of ground coffee beans. Since the mushroom powder contains no caffeine, it effectively halves the caffeine content compared to regular coffee. However, this may not apply to all brands of mushroom coffee, as caffeine content is often not listed on product packages.

Here’s a comparison of the caffeine content in a 10 oz cup of three types of mushroom coffee, regular coffee, and decaffeinated coffee:

Regular coffee: 95 mg
Mushroom coffee: Approximately 50 mg (varies by brand)
Decaffeinated coffee: 2-5 mg
Thus, mushroom coffee contains about half the caffeine of regular coffee but significantly more than decaffeinated coffee.

Potential Health Benefits

Medicinal mushrooms have a rich history of use in traditional Chinese medicine spanning centuries. These mushrooms contain compounds known as adaptogens, which have the potential to enhance the body's response to stress.

The compounds extracted from these mushrooms, known as adaptogens, may enhance the body’s response to stress.

Since the 1970s, researchers have shown interest in the adaptogens found in medicinal mushrooms due to their potential health benefits. However, it's important to note that most studies on medicinal mushrooms are conducted on animals or in lab settings, with few well-designed clinical trials involving humans. Therefore, we cannot directly apply the results of these studies to humans or human diseases.

Moreover, these studies are not specific to mushroom coffee, making it unclear whether combining mushrooms and coffee beans produces positive or negative health effects. While medicinal mushrooms and coffee each have some established benefits, there are numerous unverified health claims about the benefits of mushroom coffee.

Below are some scientific findings regarding the alleged health benefits of medicinal mushrooms:

Chaga: May support immune function and reduce inflammation.
Turkey Tail: Potentially improves gut health and supports immune response.
Lion’s Mane: May enhance cognitive function and nerve health.
Reishi: Known for its calming effects and immune support.
Cordyceps: Believed to boost energy and athletic performance.
The common medicinal mushrooms used in mushroom coffee include Chaga, Cordyceps, Reishi, Lion’s mane, and Turkey tail.

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