Mushrooms are nutritious and have many health benefits, but the jury is out on whether these health claims translate to mushroom coffee.
Reviewed by Dietitian Maria Laura Haddad-Garcia
Mushroom coffee is just one of the latest health trends in the beverage aisle. Proponents of the drink say it helps with concentration, reduces stress and fights unwanted bloating. Can drinking a cup of joe with mushrooms mixed in actually benefit your health and reduce tummy troubles? We spoke with a few experts to get the scoop on this beverage, including what it is, how it’s made, whether or not it really does fight bloat, and if you should spend your money on this fancy coffee blend.
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What Is Mushroom Coffee?
“Mushroom coffee is a beverage that contains mushrooms that have gone through a drying, extraction and grinding process,” says Jessica Cording, M.S., RD, a registered dietitian, health coach and author of The Farewell Tour: A Caregiver’s Guide to Stress Management, Sane Nutrition, and Better Sleep. The powdered mushroom mixture is combined with ground coffee to make a brew that is often less caffeinated than traditional coffee. Mushroom coffee is often sold as instant coffee, coffee grounds, latte mixes and pods.
Some commonly used mushrooms include:
How Is It Made?
Mushroom coffee starts with powdered mushrooms. The veggie undergoes a drying, extraction and grinding process to create the powder, which is then mixed with ground coffee, usually in a 50-50 ratio. Some enthusiasts say making your own mushroom coffee at home is simple. All you need is a mushroom coffee extract and some coffee. Mix the mushroom powder into the coffee, and the result is similar to the bagged mixes.
Does Mushroom Coffee Help with Bloating?
“While mushroom coffee has gained attention for its beneficial properties, including adaptogens, there is limited scientific research examining its impact on gastrointestinal health, specifically bloating,” says Michelle Pearlman, M.D., CEO and co-founder of Prime Institute. In addition, Pearlman states that certain mushrooms are considered high-FODMAP foods, containing carbohydrates that may contribute to gas production in some people. “Mushrooms contain polysaccharides, which may actually contribute to bloating in IBS sufferers that are sensitive to this food group,” says Aja McCutchen, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates and an advisor to ModifyHealth.
In other words, the claim that mushroom coffee reduces bloating is wildly overblown and mostly anecdotal. That said, Cording says that coffee may stimulate a bowel movement and ease bloating in some people, but notes this is not unique to mushroom coffee.
Other Potential Benefits
Might Support Your Immune Function
“There isn’t much research on the health benefits of mushroom coffee, but mushrooms, in general, are noted for their potential anti-inflammatory benefits, as they contain antioxidants, which may also help support immune system function,” says Cording. Research, such as a 2021 article in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, suggests that some mushrooms may stimulate an immune response and fight off unwanted invaders within the body. That said, the dose of mushrooms used in clinical research varies and doesn’t always match the amount found in mushroom coffee. “You could absolutely reap these benefits by eating mushrooms as a regular part of your diet,” says Cording. Mushrooms are one of the only plant-based sources of vitamin D, a nutrient that helps the immune system fight off illness.
May Have Anticancer Properties
Due to their antioxidant properties, medicinal mushrooms have been studied for their role in cancer prevention and treatment. A 2022 review in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences states that many mushrooms have been used in clinical trials to assess their effectiveness for treating drug-resistant cancer, in combination with traditional medicine. In addition, mushrooms may minimize the nausea, diarrhea, anemia and insomnia that many cancer patients experience. Again, this research does not necessarily translate to mushroom coffee.
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May Promote Healthy Aging
Mushrooms are being studied for their role in preventing age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Since mushrooms are rich in potent antioxidants, scientists believe they may prevent oxidative stress in the brain that is present with cognitive decline, per a 2023 article in Nutrients. However, the research pertains only to dietary mushrooms rather than mushroom coffee.
“Mushrooms in their original form are a powerful antioxidant packed with vitamins, but extractions and combinations outside of this are variable and not subject to FDA regulation, making it difficult to draw scientific evidence-based conclusions about the potential benefits,” says McCutchen. “While coffee in moderation may have some health benefits and mushrooms have benefits, I always caution consumers and patients on high doses of unregulated supplements,” she adds.
Cording says there’s no need to avoid mushroom coffee if it brings you enjoyment, although it can be very expensive. “One thing to note is that because certain kinds of mushrooms (e.g., chaga) are high in oxalates, those at risk for developing kidney stones should use caution,” she says.
Should You Try Mushroom Coffee?
If you’re interested in mushroom coffee, there’s probably no harm in trying a cup. But don’t expect a miracle cure-all that instantly debloats your stomach. Although mushrooms have many favorable properties, research on mushroom coffee is lacking. We recommend discussing it with your health care provider before trying it out. Adding mushrooms to your stir-fry is probably more worthwhile.
The Bottom Line
Mushroom coffee has been growing in popularity. Many proponents say it’s a natural way to fight against bloating, but gastroenterologists disagree. As a matter of fact, mushrooms may exacerbate bloating in people with underlying gastrointestinal disorders. Mushrooms are a healthy vegetable that has been studied for many medicinal properties. But it’s difficult to translate that research to mushroom coffee.
Related: What Are Adaptogens and Are They Good for You?