Mushroom Coffee: Are There Health Benefits?

Mushroom coffee might sound unappetizing. But this trendy drink isn’t as odd as it sounds. It actually tastes pretty similar to regular coffee.

Some say this unusual beverage has a slew of health benefits. But what does the science say?

What Is Mushroom Coffee?

People create this drink by drying mushrooms, extracting their beneficial ingredients, and adding those to regular coffee. So trying this doesn't mean you'll have mushroom pieces floating in your cup o' joe.

The most popular types of mushrooms used for this are:

  • Reishi
  • Chaga
  • Lion’s mane
  • Cordyceps

Asian countries have been using herbs and mushrooms as a wellness therapy for centuries. Experts call these wellness tools “adaptogens.” They’re thought to be able to help us adapt and survive in tense situations.

Those who love mushroom coffee will tell you that it can help your body in any number of ways. Many of those claims haven't been proven yet.

Possible Benefits of Mushroom Coffee

The fact that mushrooms are part of the drink's recipe does give this interesting beverage some potential health benefits:

It can support your immune system. Mushrooms have beneficial compounds, such as:

These have major antioxidant properties. So experts believe that mushroom coffee can provide antioxidants that support your immune system.

There's less caffeine. While this doesn’t mean that mushroom coffee itself can help you get better sleep -- as some suggest -- taking in less caffeine does help some people get a better night’s rest. If you tend to be sensitive to caffeine, mushroom coffee might be a good choice for you.

It could help ease stress. Cortisol is a stress hormone that affects our bodies in many situations. People with things like depression, hypoglycemia, fever, trauma, and pain tend to have higher amounts of cortisol. Studies show that adaptogens, like the mushrooms in mushroom coffee, level out the amount of cortisol in your blood and saliva. So this drink could potentially give you a hand in managing stress.

It may ease inflammation. The compounds in mushrooms have plenty of anti-inflammatory agents. But it’s unclear if these benefits also exist in mushroom extracts like the ingredients used in mushroom coffee.

Should You Switch to Mushroom Coffee?

While this unusual concoction might provide some health value, it's important to remember that mushroom coffee contains only mushroom extract. And experts believe that enjoying the whole mushroom is the best way to get its benefits.

So at the end of the day, you might be better off adding whole mushrooms to your diet instead.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on May 20, 2021

Sources

SOURCES:

Cleveland Clinic: “Mushroom Coffee: Should You Be Drinking It.”

National Cancer Institute: “Medicinal Mushrooms (PDQ®).”

The New York Academy of Sciences: “Understanding adaptogenic activity: specificity of the pharmacological action of adaptogens and other phytochemicals.”

Mediators of Inflammation: “Mushrooms: A Potential Natural Source of Anti-Inflammatory Compounds for Medical Applications.”

Molecules: “Antioxidants of Edible Mushrooms.”

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