You might have never heard of it — and if you have, there’s a good chance that you internally noted how unappealing it sounds and then moved on with your life.
But it’s become more and more popular in recent years — and there are actually compelling reasons why. Keep reading if you’d like to know what mushroom coffee is and why it might actually be worth trying.
What mushroom coffee is
Mushroom coffee is essentially a mix of ground coffee and powdered mushrooms. It can typically be made in the exact same way as a cup of coffee, making it a very convenient substitute for the “real” thing.
The mushrooms used are typically considered to be “medicinal” — which is why it’s emerged as a bit of a health craze.
What makes a mushroom medicinal? Well, they can contain large amounts of antioxidants, be beneficial for our digestive systems, aid our liver, and also act as anti-inflammatory and anti-viral agents.
The specific mushrooms used can vary from brand to brand. But a few frequently used ones include reishi, lion’s mane, chaga, and cordyceps.
- Reishi mushrooms are thought to boost the immune system, help with depression and fatigue, and potentially even help to prevent cancer.
- Lion’s mane mushrooms are also thought to potentially help prevent depression, but they also have the possible benefits of protecting against dementia, preventing ulcers, and reducing recovery time for the nervous system.
- Chaga mushrooms have been used for a variety of health purposes over the years, including preventing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Like reishi mushrooms, they are also considered to be immune system supporters.
- Cordyceps are similarly thought to help prevent heart disease and diabetes. Additionally, they can help with inflammation, anti-aging, and, interestingly, improve cardiovascular fitness performance.
These mushrooms can be used in isolation or mixed in mushroom coffee to create delicious, health-boosting blends.
These benefits are some of the reasons why people are switching from regular coffee to mushroom coffee — but there are other reasons why mushroom coffee may ultimately be better than regular coffee for us.
Mushroom coffee vs. “regular” coffee
One of the most commonly cited reasons for switching from standard coffee to mushroom coffee is the difference in caffeine. While many of us drink coffee in order to ingest caffeine — and some of us drink it for that purpose alone — there are also people who are concerned about their own caffeine consumption or are unhappy with how it affects their brain and body.
For anyone with anxiety or high levels of stress, coffee can sometimes just unhelpfully amplify these feelings and the physiological processes that often accompany them. “Jitters” are often described, as is rapid heart rate and increased stress or nerves.
Mushroom coffee typically contains half the amount of caffeine as regular coffee does. This could automatically take away the excessive jitters for folks who decide to make the switch. It also gives hope that it’s possible to have all the benefits of coffee without the negative side effects. Mushroom coffee may even have some non-caffeine energy-boosting properties, so that mushroom coffee converts don’t have to see a decrease in energy or productivity after making the switch.
For those who struggle with the digestive effects of coffee, which is quite acidic, mushroom coffee is less acidic than the regular stuff, and some people notice a significant difference in gut health and happiness after switching.
But all these perks aren’t of much use if mushroom coffee doesn’t taste good — which is typically the first and biggest concern of most. Luckily, mushroom coffee actually tastes not all that different from regular coffee. The majority of people who try it aren’t bothered by — and may even love — the way it tastes.
While you might still not be totally sold on mushroom coffee, there are some pretty compelling reasons to at least give it a try.
In a year with high levels of anxiety and stress, anything that exacerbates that is probably not the best habit to keep. And giving up coffee is just not the desired change for most of us, so finding a healthy, yummy alternative is a good way to go.