There are a lot of ways to healthify your latte these days. For instance, you can get matcha instead of espresso to prevent that dreaded crash later, or you can opt for oat milk, which may be easier on the digestive system. You can even spike it with MCT oil to give it a ketogenic spin. Another latte twist that’s been rising in popularity over the last few years? Adding adaptogenic mushrooms.
Mushroom tea and coffee advocates say adding adaptogens is a genius beverage hack because of the booster’s ability to help the body manage stress. Why not reap the benefits from something you’re brewing anyway instead of whipping up a whole other drink or adding another capsule to your supplement-to-swallow list? Well, Dave Asprey, Bulletproof founder and biohacker extraordinaire, is not on board.
Why? To start, he’s not a fan of the taste. “Why ruin a perfectly good cup of coffee with the taste of mushrooms?” he asks on his site. “Some types of mushrooms can be pretty earthy—that’s a coffee snob’s way of saying it tastes like dirt.”
“Medicinal mushrooms are highly specialized, and you have to work with a well-trained and competent professional to know how to use them correctly.” —Dave Asprey, Bulletproof founder
But there’s another, more science-rooted reason he advises against supercharging your brew with adaptogens: It can be complicated! “Medicinal mushrooms are highly specialized, and you have to work with a well-trained and competent professional to know how to use them correctly,” he says. “[Traditional Chinese Medicine] practitioners decide what will work for your body by first assessing your individual constitution. For example, the mushrooms that ramp up energy in the qi deficient type could make the yin deficient type feel sluggish and sleepy. There are nine different body constitutions in TCM, and each reacts to mushrooms in different ways.”
It is important to research what you’re putting into your body. And to that point, Tero Isokauppila, co-founder of Four Sigmatic Foods—a Los Angeles-based brand specializing in medicinal mushroom-infused beverages—offers up some guidance: “Reishi is grounding, balancing, and stress-reducing—it lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, and cortisol. Cordyceps is known to increase oxygen intake, and is good for the adrenals. Chaga is a great source of antioxidants, zinc, and melanin, which are all [excellent] for skin and inflammation. And then there’s lion’s mane, which is one of the few things to help repair nerve growth factors, essentially how your brain communicates with your body.” So, make sure to at least take note of these tips before jumping full-throttle into this trend.
The takeaway here: Yes, adaptogenic mushrooms and herbs can be a great way to give your body a boost, but it’s important to research whether they’re really best for you before adding them to your beverages willy-nilly. And that’s solid advice for anything you consume.
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