You Put What in Your Coffee?

What if I told you that you can take a special variety of mushrooms that improves your mental focus, clarity, and energy on a daily basis, legally, and the only person around you that would notice would be you?

Before you get too excited, we’re not talking about the psychedelic drug that gets you high. There are several properties in mushrooms that boast a wide range of health benefits.

And somewhat surprisingly, there are legitimate benefits to the naturally occurring prodrug known as “psilocybin” found in some varieties of mushrooms (these are the ones some folks refer to as “magic”). Over the last several years a few preliminary studies that have demonstrated the benefits of psychedelic drugs.
This study found that there were rapid and sustained antidepressant effects after just one high-dose treatment with magic mushrooms. Another study found similar effects. If you’ll notice the links, the journals referenced, Nature and The Lancet, are not members of the tinfoil hat club. In both of these studies, the participants have taken the psychedelics in a controlled environment with medical supervision (this is the part where we state clearly: DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME). The studies show that the mushrooms are actually more effective than standard drugs used on people with treatment-resistant depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), addictive behaviors related to alcohol and tobacco use, OCD, and end-of-life anxiety.

If tripping on mushrooms freaks you, rest assured, we’ve found several mushrooms of the un-magic variety that have some tremendous health benefits.

Earlier this year I had some concerns about possible adrenal fatigue. If any of you have dealt with this you know it’s a tough spot to be in (thankfully, adrenal-specific testing indicated my adrenals were functioning well), but before receiving my test results I was trying to avoid caffeine. Caffeine stresses the adrenals, so those in adrenal fatigue really need to be careful about how much they consume (preferably none at all).

When our favorite integrative dietician friend, the lovely Robyn Johnson suggested I try mushroom coffee, I looked at her like she was nuts. It sounded disgusting. Despite my hesitancy, I looked into it, and came across a company by the name of Four Sigmatic that makes mushroom coffee. When I got my test results back and found out I wasn’t in adrenal fatigue I decided against giving up my regular coffee for the mushrooms. When my birthday came around last week, somebody who knows me well (ahem, Tim Cummings) bought me a month’s supply of the Four Sigmatic mushroom coffee. Let’s just say, WHOA! My mornings have changed! This stuff works even better for me than coffee, and without the caffeine jitters.

So, what is mushroom coffee? The Four Sigmatic brand has several varieties of coffee, hot chocolate, and elixirs. And the mushroom coffee actually tastes like regular coffee! My first thought before trying this was it would give off some sort of nasty aroma or it would taste terrible. I was pleasantly surprised. Below, are the some of the mushroom varieties used in Four Sigmatic products along with health benefits they are known for:

  • Lion’s Mane – enhances memory and brain function, reduces blood sugar, neuro-protective benefits, prevents athersclerosis, anti-cancer activity, reduces depression and anxiety, reduces fatigue, repairs myelin sheaths, improves cognitive function, enhances the immune system, promotes digestion, protects the liver, lowers cholesterol.
  • Astragalus – anti-inflammatory, boosts the immune system, slows or prevents the growth of tumors, provides cardiovascular protection, improves insulin sensitivity, contains anti oxidative and anti-aging compounds, treats cold and flu viruses, alleviates symptoms of chemotherapy, provides supplement therapy for chronic asthma.
  • Chaga – supports the immune system, supports the integrity of blood vessels and provides soothing properties, supports gastrointestinal health, normalizes blood pressure and cholesterol levels, antimicrobial properties, protects DNA, has antiviral properties.
  • Cordyceps – increases immune function, anti-aging properties, improved stamina and athletic performance, natural aphrodisiac, improves liver function and supports detoxification, fights diabetes, fights respiratory infections.
  • Maitake – boosts the immune system, cancer fighting benefits, lowers blood sugar, promotes heart health and weight loss
  • Reishi – helps defend against tumor growth and cancer, improves liver function and detoxification, promotes heart health and balances blood pressure, helps balance hormones and fights diabetes, fights allergies and asthma, reduces risk for infections and viruses.

This info alone was enough to make me want to supplement with mushrooms regularly in my diet. I had no idea there were so many positive benefits to various types of mushrooms. Consider, too, that we are in the midst of cold and flu season. All of the above mushroom varieties have anti-inflammatory properties which can significantly reduce your chances of getting sick or your cold/flu duration if you are unfortunate enough to contract an illness this winter. With three little ones in our home there are MANY germs being passed around so I’m all about anything that decreases inflammation and boosts immune function.

If you’re even a little bit curious, give the ‘shrooms a try and let us know what you think!

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