On average, Americans drink approximately 400 million cups of coffee every day, and 146 billion cups of coffee per year. However, there exists a perpetual debate about whether coffee is beneficial or detrimental to our long-term health.
Coffee is a beverage derived from the dried, ground beans that grow on a tree of the genus “Coffea”. This revered drink traces its origins back to at least the 15th century, if not earlier. Modern day science has confirmed that it indeed possesses myriad benefits. It is rich in Vitamin B2 and B5 among others. However, it’s primary benefit is conferred via its rich antioxidant content. The stimulating effects of coffee come from the high amount of caffeine found within.
While caffeine has been proven to provide short term benefits such as a boost in brain function, metabolism, and athletic performance, excessive consumption can cause negative side effects. Excessive intake of caffeinated products can lead to diarrhea, anxiety, jitters, heart palpitations, lack of sleep, and an increase in blood pressure. Caffeine has also proven to have addictive properties, and a tolerance to the chemical can be built with daily consumption. It also causes tangible withdrawal symptoms when intake is reduced or stopped. Withdrawal symptoms include headaches, irritability, and a lack of energy which can persist for days.
Luckily, healthier alternatives exist to highly caffeinated beverages. Enter the fungi. As mentioned in our previous article discussing the health benefits of mushrooms, various species of mushrooms are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In addition to this, functional species of mycelium such as Reishi, Lion’s Mane, and Cordyceps are well-known adaptogens. An adaptogen is a type of herbal supplement which can reduce the effects of stress within the body by promoting balance within the hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal glands. They also have several other beneficial effects on the body, including antidepressive, stimulant, and neuroprotective properties.
So, can functional mushrooms replace your daily dose of java? They can be a potentially healthier alternative, especially if you suffer negative side effects of caffeine consumption and subsequent withdrawals. Because mushrooms are caffeine-free and contain a similar vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant profile, as well as unique adaptogens, they can offer a viable alternative to coffee. Functional mushrooms can provide clean, healthy energy for the body without the undesirable detrimental effects of caffeine.