Mushrooms are an ordinary vegetable; coffee is an ordinary beverage. But together? ‘Mushroom coffee‘ may soon become the king of superfood drinks.
Golden lattes, enhanced waters, and other trendy health drinks need to make way for the potential king of superfood drinks: mushroom coffee.
According to Finnish company Four Sigmatic, creators of the fungi-focused coffee, says mushroom-infused products in general are the future, including other elixirs, blends, and hot cocoa mixes. The ideology is to make it as easy as possible for people to consume foods with powerful health benefits, opting for ‘shrooms as their weapon of choice.
Now we know what you’re thinking – and no, there won’t be floating fungus pieces in your coffee that you’ll need to pick out of your teeth. Four Sigmatic transforms the fungi into powder extracts, creating a powder that condenses all of the wild fungi’s health-promoting goodness. After it passes quality tests, the powder is added to organic instant coffee grounds, creating a mix that just needs hot water to complete.
These mushroom beverages beg the question, however…why? What’s the point of putting mushrooms in your coffee, rather than a breakfast omelette?
Four Sigmatic says their products enhance the health benefits of coffee, a drink most people can say they start their day with. The maitake mushroom, used in their green coffee mix, regulates blood sugar levels, while chaga, another type of mushroom, reduces coffee acidity to make it easier on the stomach.
“There is some research to show that the maitake mushroom may lower blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes,” says Health’s contributing nutrition editor Cynthia Sass, RD. She also noted chaga’s ability to assist digestive health, while safeguarding against bacteria & viruses.
Now that doesn’t mean you should start eating mushroom-infused everything. While mushrooms do have benefits, knowing what you’re in taking is key: “It’s important to know that anything medicinal, even plants and natural substances, can have potential side effects and interactions,” explains Sass.
For example, people taking blood thinners or meds that regulate diabetes or blood pressure should shy away from maitake mushrooms, as they interact with those drugs. Chaga mushrooms have a blood thinning effect too, meaning they shouldn’t be taken before any surgeries or procedures.
If all this is too much to take in, and you’re just down for some fungi fun, eating the mushrooms old school – just straight up – is always a safe bet.
“Culinary mushrooms, like white buttons and portobellos, are very low in calories—about 15 to 20 per cup—and antioxidant-rich too,” says Sass. “Plus, they’re the only plant source of natural vitamin D, a key nutrient most of us don’t get enough of.”
Vitamin D, for one, is associated with lower risks of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and even some cancers.
But if you’re really keen on adding wild mushrooms to your diet via your morning brew, it’s best to do so with professional guidance (no, really).
“I do think there is a place for the use of medicinal mushrooms, but I generally don’t recommend that people take them on their own,” says Sass.