What's So Great About a Mushroom Coffee Alternative?
We found the figures regarding cafe consumption in the United States are nothing if not staggering. Take this statistic for instance.
American's during around 400 million cups per day. That means that the nation consumes 146 billion cups per year. But how does that stack up against other countries? Well, American's consume 9.7 lbs per person per year. People in Finland gulp down 26 lbs. The net result is that U.S. citizens only rank 25th in the world for this drink consumption.
That is not to say that it is not a popular beverage - it is. But there is a new entrant into the market that make those from the U.S. even more avid coffee drinker. The immediate thought by many consumers is that the beverage sounds a lot like soup, but the reality is much different.
Firstly, It tastes very similar to that cup of Joe that many American's enjoy every day. The difference is that it contains a variety of different types of fungi. Extracts of mushrooms such as Reishi, Turkey’s Tail, Chaga, Lions Mane, and Cordyceps are added to the brew.
The question is why?
The origins of this type of drink are founded in Chinese medicine where compounds like adaptogens have been used extensively. These compounds were extracted from various herbs and fungi - the idea has been around for hundreds (if not thousands) of years. These extracts are believed to have various health-giving properties.
Today’s Cafe uses various dried preparation and extract which are then added to instant cafe. If artfully blended, the result is almost indistinguishable from the instant coffee that is available on shelves across the U.S.
Why bother? Instant cafe is fine. right? Anecdotal evidence (and there are ongoing medical studies) seems to indicate that the compounds extracted from spores are enormously beneficial.
The Adaptogen content of this type of beverage is particularly high. Adaptogens have been researched ver since the 1970s for their health-giving properties. They have been implicated in lowering the level of hormones and other compounds that cause stress - and the accompanying damage to the endocrine, neurological and immune systems.
The compounds found in the various types of spores used in the manufacture of drinks are particularly well recognized for their anti-inflammatory properties. However - ongoing research and the aforementioned anecdotal evidence provide clues to other health benefits. For instance, the idea that the compounds extracted from fungi may provide numerous health benefits has been long established. It seems arrogant of Western medicine to claim that it has all the answers to chronic disease, especially when generations have been enjoying the benefits of the compounds that have been extracted from mushrooms.
The reported benefits of these compounds have been linked to benefits to our immune systems, more restful sleep, improved level of energy, and better cognitive functioning. There is also some evidence that the compounds may help to reduce levels of stress.
The anti-inflammatory effects of the mushroom extracts can also reduce the effects of muscle damage - especially useful to those who are undergoing intense cardio programs or who suffer from conditions such as arthritis. The compounds also appear to have anti-aging, and cancer prevention properties.
Caffeine can do wonders for energy levels. It can also help us focus and provide greater mental acuity. But used to excess (and many consumers are guilty of simply drinking too much cafe), it can lead to anxiety and disturbed sleep patterns.
It is worth repeating that peer-reviewed research is ongoing. As with many herbal supplements, we simply do not know enough - but the research is promising.
There is also the fact that we must take that anecdotal evidence into account. Any compound that has stood the test of time may just provide health benefits that have been enjoyed across many different cultures.
Even once we have taken the evidence into account there remains the fact that mushrooms, in their many different forms are packed with nutrients, fiber, vitamins, and trace elements that contribute to our health.
Of course, more medical trials are required before we can be certain that there are significant benefits to giving up on our daily cup of a beverage that is renowned for its ability to enhance our mental performance and ability to cope with the stresses of everyday 21st-century life. It does seem that extracts from natural substances can have a significant effect on our quest for a healthier life.
They seem (when used properly) to offer a healthy alternative to man-made chemicals. Given the fact that there is increasing concern about addiction and the long-term effects of the various chemicals that we are under increasing pressure to use to enjoy peak physical and mental health natural alternatives do have their attractions.
Extracts of compounds such as those found in spores offer consumers the ability to make an informed choice. they do not seem (at least on the face of it to contribute to addiction - and seem to have very few side effects. However, as with any supplement and change in diet, the golden rule should always be to check with your physician before deciding on a new path to health.
Coffee is great (at least for many of us). Any new development that can combine its effects with more healthy additives to the mix should be welcomed. As with most things, moderation is the key to a more healthy and fulfilled life.