The idea of adding mushrooms to other foods is not new. The Chinese have used them for medicinal purposes thousands of years ago, before mushrooms turned into an alternative to coffee due to the lack of coffee beans in Finland during World War II.
After that, putting mushrooms in drinks became common until the phenomenon of “mushroom coffee” appeared, which is prepared from ground coffee mixed with certain types of medicinal mushroom extracts, which can be purchased in pre-prepared and quick-to-cook packages.
Mushroom coffee is promoted as a healthy alternative to regular coffee, and is said to have many benefits such as: improving sleep, supporting memory, reducing stress, strengthening immunity, reducing inflammation, relieving muscle pain, and increasing energy levels.
However, the marketing position of mushroom coffee, which made it among the “best selling instant coffee” list on Amazon, did not prevent it from raising questions from experts about the validity of the claims of its benefits, and the extent to which it deserves the price paid for it.
Dr. Chris Eliades, who holds a doctorate in medicine, stated in a previous article on the “University Health News” website ( University Health News) While not a substitute for coffee, mushroom coffee is made by adding ground mushrooms or extract to regular coffee in the hopes of combining the benefits of both. With this unique blend, coffee lovers can enhance their beverage with the added health benefits of mushrooms.
He added that the studies accompanying the common claims about the benefits of this type of coffee are “very few”, in contrast to the benefits of regular coffee, “they are well documented and have been studied a lot.”
Evaluating the claims made by the makers of mushroom coffee
Speaking to Clevelandclinic , registered dietitian Beth Zeroni endorsed Chris Eliades’ view, saying that “there isn’t a lot of research to suggest that all of these claims are actually true.”
She explained that while mushrooms, in general, can offer some wonderful benefits such as reducing inflammation and providing antioxidants to support the immune system, these benefits can be gained from eating mushrooms even when they’re salted. There is currently no reputable research to support the health claims made by the makers of mushroom coffee.
And she attributed the uproar that accompanied the marketing of mushroom coffee since its appearance, to her idea based on a scientifically unproven assumption that all the benefits of mushrooms can be achieved after processing and fermenting them along with morning coffee, “but the truth is that mushroom coffee is expensive and has fewer health benefits than eating mushrooms.” Whole mushrooms.
So Beth Zeroni isn’t tempted to recommend mushroom coffee, “not only because it costs twice as much as regular coffee, but because there’s very little reliable research on its benefits.”
Notes on mushroom coffee
Among the observations that stopped the experts in their review of the alleged benefits of mushroom coffee:
- The caffeine hoax: Mushroom coffee is promoted as having “about half the caffeine of regular coffee,” but Dr. Linda J. Strause , director of a medical consulting firm, explains, “This is because mushroom coffee blends are prepared with less than The ground coffee beans used to prepare regular coffee, however, contain much more caffeine than decaffeinated coffee.
- Calories and fats: While regular coffee is almost devoid of calories, saturated fats, and cholesterol, mushroom coffee can add about 55 calories in 100 grams, in addition to one gram of saturated fats and two grams of cholesterol. “In return for providing some healthy carbohydrates, plus more than 1 gram of dietary fiber,” says Dr. Iliad.
- Health risks: Some mushrooms “are rich in oxalates, which may increase the risk of kidney stones,” according to Beth Zeroni and Eliades. Mushrooms may also exacerbate the suffering of some people “who have digestive problems or are allergic to eating mushrooms.” It is an allergy whose symptoms may come “in the form of stomach pain, vomiting and difficulty breathing,” according to certified nutritionist Sarah Olshewski .
Coffee has become a necessary ritual in the morning routine for many around the world, and research has estimated that the United States alone consumes about 400 million cups per day. This widespread popularity is what prompts some companies to introduce new alternatives to regular coffee – such as mushroom coffee – claiming that it contains more nutrients.
“If you are a fan of the higher caffeine content, you will not like the taste and effects of mushroom coffee as a replacement for your regular daily coffee,” Eliades says. But still, you can get all the benefits of mushrooms, which contain many nutrients that are good for health, such as antioxidants, vitamins, calcium, potassium, and more fiber, by adding them to your food.
Sarah Olshewski points out, “The importance of consulting a doctor to ensure that the type of mushroom in mushroom coffee is appropriate for a person’s health condition.” This is what Beth Zeroni advises, who wants to start his day with a cup of mushroom coffee, to “try one type of mushroom powder at a time, and track any symptoms he may encounter, in order to avoid them.”
Although she does not see anything wrong with drinking mushroom coffee, “as long as there are fewer sugar or bleach additives, and the person does not have problems with the digestive system or kidneys,” she reminds that what is best for health is “eating whole fresh mushrooms, and not drinking processed mushrooms in expensive coffee.” “