In today’s fast-paced world, coffee has become the elixir that powers our mornings, fuels our mid-day breaks, and occasionally provides a comforting warmth on quiet evenings. Yet, amidst the standard roster of lattes, cappuccinos, and Americanos, a new concoction is rising in popularity—mushroom coffee.
Infused with the potent benefits of medicinal mushrooms, this modern brew offers a unique combination of flavor and health-promoting properties. Join us as we delve into the benefits of mushroom coffee. It just might just be the upgrade your daily routine needs!
What Is Mushroom Coffee?
First things first, what the heck is mushroom coffee? It’s a harmonious blend of traditional coffee beans and dried and ground medicinal mushrooms.
Medicinal mushrooms are not your average grocery store mushrooms like criminis or shiitakes. And they’re not hallucinogenic. Rather, they’re mushrooms with additional health benefits outside of the nutrients they contain. Reishi, chaga, lion’s mane, and cordyceps are top varieties.
To make mushroom coffee, these fungi undergo a drying and extraction process to create a powder, which is then combined with ground coffee beans. The result? A cup of joe with a rich, bold flavor akin to its traditional counterpart, but with additional health perks!
The Benefits of Mushroom Coffee
While there isn’t currently much research on mushroom coffee (yet), there is plenty of research on coffee and medicinal mushrooms on their own. From that literature, we can understand the potential benefits of fusing these two nutritional powerhouses together.
Let’s take a look at the top potential health benefits of mushroom coffee.
1. Reduced Risk of Neurodegenerative Diseases
One of the most pressing health concerns of our era is the increasing prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
Caffeine, a primary compound in coffee, has been linked to a lower risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.[*][*] Adding certain mushrooms, like lion’s mane, to coffee may further reduce these risks. How?
Lion’s mane mushroom contains two main groups of compounds that contribute to its brain-supporting benefits: hericenones and erinacines.[*] Both of these compounds have been shown to stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), a protein that plays a vital role in the maintenance, survival, and regeneration of neurons.
2. Enhanced Cognitive Function
Neuroprotective benefits aside, coffee and certain medicinal mushrooms have been shown to support cognitive function. Caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant. It blocks adenosine receptors, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep and relaxation. In doing so, it paves the way for neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine to take center stage. This results in heightened alertness, improved concentration, and faster reaction times.
Certain functional mushrooms, namely lion’s mane, may further enhance this effect by stimulating the production of NGF. This protein is vital for the health of neurons and their ability to form new connections, which are essential for learning, memory, and focus.
3. Adaptogenic Properties
Adaptogens are substances that help the body respond to stress and restore physiological balance.[*] Reishi, chaga, and lion’s mane—popular ingredients in mushroom coffee—have long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for their calming and balancing effects.
Regular consumption of adaptogenic mushrooms may lead to improved resilience against physical, chemical, and biological stressors. This means that whether you’re facing a challenging work project or an intense workout, mushroom coffee may help provide the support you need to maintain equilibrium.
4. Rich in Antioxidants
Antioxidants play a pivotal role in neutralizing harmful free radicals that can lead to cell damage and aging. Both coffee and functional mushrooms like chaga, reishi, and lion’s mane are heralded for their antioxidant content.[*][*] Together, they not only protect the body from oxidative stress, but also enhance overall health and slow down the aging process.
5. Boosted Immune System
Certain medicinal mushrooms have bioactive compounds that can modulate the immune system. Take chaga mushrooms, for example. Some research suggests that chaga helps regulate the production of cytokines, which are signaling proteins that help control inflammation in your body.[*] This could help maintain a strong, balanced immune system.
6. Sustained Energy without the Jitters
While caffeine gives a rapid energy boost, it can sometimes result in side effects like energy crashes or jitters. Mushrooms, being adaptogens, may help in smoothing out these energy spikes, offering a more consistent energy release. So, while you still get the wakefulness from your coffee, the medicinal mushrooms ensure it’s a smoother, more enduring experience.
7. Enhanced Mood
Mushroom coffee offers more than just a wake-up jolt; it may also elevate one’s mood. Caffeine boosts neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, often dubbed the “feel-good” chemicals.[*] These neurotransmitters play pivotal roles in regulating mood, combating feelings of depression, and promoting an overall sense of well-being.
Certain medicinal mushrooms, particularly lion’s mane, contain compounds that may also alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. This may be due to the potent anti-inflammatory effects of lion’s mane or its ability to promote the regeneration of brain cells.[*][*]
When combined, the caffeine and these mushroom compounds synergize, potentially offering a mood lift that’s both immediate and sustained.
How to Make Mushroom Coffee
Interested in jumping on the mushroom coffee bandwagon? Don’t grab your hiking boots just yet! Contrary to what some might believe, you don’t need to embark on a woodland adventure and forage your own mushrooms.
With IQJOE—an instant coffee crafted with premium, dark-roasted Brazilian coffee and enhanced with magnesium and lion’s mane—you can effortlessly enjoy the combined benefits of coffee and medicinal mushrooms.
Simply mix IQJOE’s powdered blend with hot water, and you have a perfectly balanced cup of mushroom coffee ready to boost your cognitive function, mood, and overall wellness. No woodland excursions required!
Written by Katie Koschalk, a health and wellness writer, certified holistic nutritionist, and certified personal trainer based in California.