What On Earth is a Functional Mushroom Drink? – the What, Why and How!
Author: Sandy Abram Date Posted:15 February 2018
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Drinking mushrooms isn’t something you may have thought of doing or jumped at the chance but it’s time to think again! Discover the amazing health benefits of functional mushrooms and the differences between medicinal mushroom drinks
Mushrooms, they’re delicious in pasta dishes, on toast, for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and even raw. But have you ever thought about drinking them? Perhaps not. But drinking mushroom based drinks is predicted to be big in 2018! So-called functional mushroom drinks are full of health benefits, think of them as a medicinal mushroom elixir, one that you most definitely have to try.
The every day mushrooms we have on our plates are great sources of B vitamins that we need to convert our food into energy, and selenium, which supports the immune system. They’re also a great vegan source of vitamin D that we need for calcium absorption and strong teeth and bones.
But the health benefits of mushroom drink mixes extend beyond simple (but essential) vitamins…
What is a Functional Mushroom Drink?
Functional mushrooms have been used medicinally for centuries, particularly in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). There are four main functional mushrooms – chaga, lion’s mane, cordyceps and reishi. They all have amazing immune system strengthening properties, in particular chaga.
When these mushrooms are added to hot water, they create a tonic, or elixir. They can be sipped like a hot tea throughout the day and have been used like this for generations of followers of TCM.
But now, functional mushrooms are found in all manner of hot drinks, including mushroom coffees and mushroom hot chocolates.
Mushroom coffee in particular is set to fill our mugs this year. It’s said that the earthiness of these medicinal mushrooms perfectly complements the bitterness of coffee. And what’s more, you get all the mood boosting and energising benefits of coffee, without those all too familiar post-caffeine jitters.
Mushroom coffees (as well as teas and hot chocolates) are made using dried mushroom extracts that maintain the nutrient profile of the mushrooms, but that blend perfectly into hot drinks. (So don’t worry, there’s no physical bits of mushrooms floating in your cup, like you’d have with dried noodles or soups!)
Mushroom Elixir Health Benefits
As well as their immune boosting properties, each of these four functional mushrooms have their own unique health benefits too. Here’s a quick snapshot:
Chaga – the most antioxidant laden of all of medicinal mushrooms, chaga can help fight bugs such as the common cold. Its energising antioxidant boost is a strong one and is an ideal start to the day.
Lion’s Mane – helps with concentration and memory. Drinking this in the afternoon can certainly help productivity. In fact, it’s used by Buddhist monks during meditation to help them with their focus. It’s even nicknamed the ‘smart mushroom’ due to its positive effects on brain function and cognition.
Cordyceps – can help improve energy levels and athletic performance and ability, without causing a caffeine-related headrush, ideal if you work out after work in the evenings. It’s also linked with an increased libido, another evening bonus…
Reishi – the most relaxing of the functional mushrooms, reishi can be consumed before bed for its stress-busting, calming properties. It’s also fantastic support for mindfulness, meditation and other spiritual practices.
Intrigued? So are we! And we’re excited, because we now have on Wholesome Hub an amazing range of organic functional mushroom drinks from the fabulous Finnish company Four Sigmatic.
So, here’s to 2018 and drinking mushrooms. Who would have thought?
Have you tried functional mushrooms? And did you notice any difference? We’d love to hear what you think.