Why you should be drinking mushroom coffee (even if it sounds gross)

You probably recognized the rumblings hailing the merits of mushroom coffee as a recent development. Its origins actually predate Instagram.

Coffee has monopolized the energy business for quite some time. For decades the sheer iconography of a medium black beside a padfolio briefcase was enough to keep potential contenders at bay. However, many studies have shown the health setbacks of an over-caffeinated body.

Luckily, a new type of coffee doesn’t come with an inevitable mid-afternoon crash. Actually, it is very possible to get your java fix and do your body and mind some good withal you just may be a little freaked out by the name.


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Mushroom coffee is a thing

If you’re like me, you probably recognized the rumblings hailing the merits of mushroom coffee as a recent development. While it’s true, the alternative extract is currently enjoying a wealth of attention online, its origins actually predate listicles and Instagram stories.

In the wake of World War II, the citizens of Finland were severed from several popular imports, coffee being one of them. There were several substitutes successfully considered, but chaga mushrooms might have had the most staying power. More than 70 years later, the grandchildren of the resourceful improvisers that inspired mushroom coffee, have reestablished their legacy in the form of Four Stigmatic, a startup company that specializes in healthy medicinal mushroom based beverages.

“We’re obsessed with the everyday magic of mushrooms like reishi, chaga, cordyceps and lion’s mane — Helping you relax, be well, energize and support productivity.” says founders Tero Isokauppila and Mikko Revonniemio.

Four Stigmatic promises that their mushroom infused coffee bears all the smooth flavorful attributes associated with a customary cup of joe.

The concept of combing mushrooms and coffee, in order to boost focus, prevent cancer, and reduce over-caffeination has received some notable attention.  The specific health benefits attributed to mushroom coffee are dependent on the kind of mushroom used, the most common are as follows: Turkey tail, Chaga, Reishi, Lion’s Main, and Cordeyceps.

A healthy mushroom family

Back in 2015, the Journal Of Ethnopharmacology published a study confirming that Chaga mushrooms promote anticancer activity, particularly colon cancer. The super mushrooms concurrently pack a myriad of important nutrients; vitamin D, potassium, copper, magnesium, zinc, and iron just to name a few. Moreover the anti-oxidants they posses have been observed to reduce blood pressure.

Turkey tail mushrooms provide a powerful boost to our immune systems. They contain two types of polysaccharopeptide studied to suppress inflammation. In doing so they promote immunity to certain toxins in addition to activating white blood cells instrumental in warding off harmful bacteria.

Reishi mushrooms, alternatively known as lingzhi, which translates to “mushroom of immortality. contain chemicals that protect against viral infections like the flu, and even chronic ailments like asthma. It’s also an immunomodulator, which means it allows our immune stem to adapt to your body based on its needs.

Lion Mane mushrooms are great for overall brain health. They’re said to help prevent dementia, boost memory and even symptoms of depression and anxiety. The proteins they contain are responsible for the maintenance, survival, and repair of cells within the nervous system. It should be noted, that the oily earthy, taste of lion’s mane doesn’t exactly make it an optimal shroom to mix with your coffee though you could always take it separately as a supplement.

Cordeyceps Mushrooms are a  Chinese mushroom renowned for their ability to naturally boost energy. They do so by improving the way our body utilizes oxygen during exercise.

Generally speaking, mushroom coffee is sort of like a super-alternative, in that it boasts many of the credentials credited to regular coffee, minus many of the setbacks. For instance, coffee, particularly dark roasts, has been well documented to aid against the effects of free radicals, which accelerate the aging process.  

As it turns out mushrooms posses even more of the anti-oxidants free radicals fear, sans the acidity. Studies conclude that one cup of mushroom coffee contains double the amount of antioxidants found in your average cup of black coffee. In addition to keeping us looking smooth and young, reduction of oxidative stress also slows down the process of cell deterioration.


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CW Headley|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com.