For the longest time coffee was a no-go for me. I hated the smell and despised the taste. Whenever friends asked to “grab a coffee,” I always sat there sipping on my hot chocolate or chai latte. One day I saw coconut and salted caramel vegan lattes available at my local coffee shop. I bought one forgetting lattes usually contain coffee, not chai tea. On my first sip, I hated it, but I’d spent $6 so I forced it down. By the end, I was feeling that amped up coffee buzz and I liked it. The next day I kind of wanted another coffee but with the notion that coffee was bad for me, I was determined not to develop a daily coffee habit.
I took to the internet to do research about coffee. I found heaps of articles saying daily coffee was good for you, and tons of articles saying the opposite. I decided to delve deeper and make up my own mind—and this led me to a coffee that was not only tasty but also had potent medicinal benefits!
You might be thinking “What is mushroom coffee? It sounds horrible!” And so did I when I first heard about it. I hate mushrooms and I’d only just gotten my head around coffee so combining the two seemed revolting. However, I’d read so much good stuff about this type of coffee that I felt compelled to try it out. Thankfully, mushroom coffee isn’t just a cup of coffee with chunks of mushrooms in it. The coffee contains an extract of medicinal mushrooms, and you make it like regular coffee. The most popular types of mushrooms used are Cordyceps, Rishi, Chaga and Lion’s Mane. All of these mushrooms boast health benefits and have been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for centuries.
What are the benefits of having mushroom coffee instead of regular coffee?
Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants and adding medicinal mushrooms increases their potency. However, mushrooms don’t just enhance coffee, they also have innate advantages themselves.
The medicinal benefits of Chaga mushrooms include anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant properties. On top of this, they’ve been found to protect against oxidative stress to DNA. In one study, researchers even found that Chaga could be used as a natural anti-cancer ingredient in the food industry.
The chemical constituents of Cordyceps mushrooms have been found to have anti-tumour, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, neuroprotective and anti-aging properties.
Lion’s Mane can help improve focus and productivity as well as enhance cognitive performance.
The rewards don’t stop there. By adding mushrooms to your coffee you not only get access to their medicinal benefits, but you also improve your overall coffee experience.
Coffee stimulates our nervous system and when combined with the balanced cellular energy of Cordyceps we get a more balanced stimulation (e.g. energy that lasts for longer and feels smoother) with only half of the amount of caffeine. This can lead to enhanced athletic performance and improved mental energy.
Adding mushrooms also helps to reduce the acidity of coffee. While most of the acidity does actually come from beneficial anti-oxidants it can cause some people to suffer from acid reflux and stomach discomfort. So adding mushrooms could help counter this negative aspect of coffee providing a smoother, less jittery experience. Win-win, right?!
Taking your daily coffee to the next level
While adding mushrooms to your coffee provides medicinal benefits and reduces acidity, there are other things you can do to turn your coffee into a wellness elixir. Here’s how I take my daily coffee to the next level.
I use a low-acidity mushroom coffee from Ananda Chaga. Anada purchases their beans from coffee growers in India who expose them to humid monsoon winds. Processing coffee beans in this way recreates the full flavor and low acidity of traditional coffee that was transported for long distances on humid ships.
To further enhance my daily coffee I add fats from either MCT or coconut oil. Adding fats to coffee slows down the absorption of caffeine prolonging its energetic effects. Fats also help maintain blood sugar levels and the conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in coconut and MCT oil provide anti-inflammatory properties.
How to make your own wellness elixir daily coffee
- Brew your mushroom coffee of choice ( I use Ananda Chaga or Four sigmatic).
- Add plant-based milk ( I like coconut or cashew milk.)
- Add 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon of MCT oil or 1 teaspoon of coconut oil.
- Add sweeter if required (I like stevia or maple syrup)
Note: Using both milk & oil increases the amount of fat and so further reduces acidity, slows down absorption and makes for an even smoother ride.
Also by Louise: Why I Eat Chocolate Every Day As A Part Of My Wellness Routine
Coffee-Rubbed Seitan & Veggie Skewers
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Photo: Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash