Better than the benefits of regular coffee?


Move over bulletproof coffee, golden milk and matcha lattes: a new hot drink awaits: mushroom coffee. With Whole Foods predicting mushrooms as one of the hottest superfoods of 2018 earlier this year, and Pinterest seeing an increase in searches for “healthy coffee,” it was only a matter of time before the two don’t merge into one wacky morning nudge.

Four Sigmatic, a Finnish company pioneering magic mushroom drinks (no, not that kind of ‘mushroom’) claims that the wide variety of mushrooms they use in their products provide “incredible health benefits. for immunity, energy and longevity that have been studied for centuries.

It got us thinking: could there really be something to combining the nutrients from mushrooms with the caffeine from coffee? We dug into the research to find out if this non-traditional java lives up to the hype.

What is mushroom coffee?

“Mushroom coffee is made with powdered mushrooms mixed with coffee for a purported synergistic effect and a health boost,” says Christy Brissette, MS, RD, president of 80 Twenty Nutrition. So if you’ve imagined a coarse, spongy shiitake floating atop your mug, rest assured that’s not what you get.

For example, Four Sigmatic’s traditional Mushroom Coffee Blend blends 100 percent Arabica coffee beans with lion’s mane and chaga mushroom extract. The extract is taken from the “fruiting bodies of wood” and spray dried into a concentrate. In other words, it doesn’t look like the mushrooms on your stir-fry anymore.

The result is various blends that offer a whole host of health benefits. Their “Power On” blend created with lion’s mane and chaga mushroom promises to support productivity, focus and creativity. Another mix is ​​dedicated to those who focus on performance. Using half the caffeine, the company claims that the “energy-supporting mushroom” cordyceps gives you a more balanced boost than your average cup of joe. “Metabolize” coffee claims to jumpstart your metabolism, thanks to a blend of green coffee beans, as well as chaga and maitake mushrooms.

But while this all sounds good, the science behind the mushrooms is still pending.

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Does Mushroom Coffee Really Have Any Health Benefits?

“Mushrooms have potential cancer-fighting properties,” says Brissette, thanks to certain chemicals found in the plant. In a small study, a liquid maitake extract boosted immune function in breast cancer patients, and research found that they may have antibacterial and antifungal benefits.

Brissette adds that mushrooms are quickly converted to glycogen (your body’s main fuel source) after eating, so they can help lower your blood sugar levels. That being said, she adds that most of the research on the health benefits of mushrooms has come from studies in cells and animals, so it’s unclear how much is needed for the same effect in humans.

In particular, the use of chaga fungi in human studies is lacking, making claims that it improves immune function questionable.

However, some research links cordyceps to athletic performance. In a pilot study, scientists gave 20 elderly people cordyceps supplements or a placebo three times a day. After 12 weeks, the group taking the supplements saw their performance increase, such as being able to complete a higher level of exercise without fatigue, while those taking the placebo did not experience any changes. The point is, the amount of cordyceps they consumed was close to 1,000 milligrams, whereas your typical cup of mushroom coffee only contains 150 milligrams.

Another 2014 study found similar results in 18 athletes who trained at high altitudes but also took high doses of the plant. So while concentrated amounts of cordyceps have the potential to boost your workouts, the amount found in a cup of mushroom coffee may not be enough to produce the same effects. Also note: Several studies have shown that drinking pure caffeine before exercise can help you do endurance exercises like biking and running without shrooms.

Some research shows a link between cordyceps fungi and increased athletic performance.

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As the body of evidence surrounding the benefits of additional mushrooms grows, there is no research on the effects of mixed mushroom powder with coffee. So even if you ingest mushrooms and experience a particularly impressive workout, energy surge, or increased productivity, it would be indistinguishable whether the effects are from the mushrooms, caffeine or both.

🍄 Should you try mushroom coffee? 🍄

Well, that won’t hurt you. If you love coffee but can’t stand caffeine, mushroom coffee might be a good choice, as it has about half the buzz you might find in pure java. Plus, many online reviews say you can’t spot a big difference in taste.

But if you’re hoping to increase your productivity or improve your athletic performance, you can probably stick with your staple brew. Mushroom coffee is typically priced between $ 15 and $ 40 and the main ingredient will always be coffee, which is probably a bit pricey compared to the generic variety that is found in your kitchen.

That doesn’t mean, however, that you should stop adding mushrooms to your stir-fry or mixing them into your pasta sauce. Mushrooms are low in calories, contain vitamin D, and can have a positive impact on your gut health, explains Brissette. She adds: “Until there is strong evidence that drinking mushrooms is better than eating them, I will stick to adding them to the food they belong to.”

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About Jeffery L. Parker

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