Coffee helps many of us start our day. The aroma, the warmth, the caffeine—these elements all work together to help awaken and get us moving each day. We rely on coffee to keep us alert and focused at work, and pick us up when energy levels are lagging. And as it turns out, some coffee may also be good for us.
Caffeine, as well antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances within coffee, may help support our body’s natural immune functions. To further expand the benefits of coffee, many people are enhancing the flavor and nutrition by mixing in additives like protein powder, coconut oil or butter, and even functional mushroom powder.
There are many species of functional mushrooms, each with unique benefits. For example, you can put lion’s mane in your coffee for additional cognitive support.‡
Let’s discuss the benefits of functional mushrooms and how to incorporate lion’s mane, specifically, into your daily health routine.
What Are the Benefits of Functional Mushrooms?
Fresh, functional mushrooms may be expensive and hard to find. One way to get all the benefits of a daily serving of mushrooms is to utilize a mushroom powder supplement. Mushroom powders can provide many nutritional benefits:
Low in Calories
Mushroom powders are low in calories, making them a useful addition to a weight loss diet. Vegan and gluten-free, they provide a nutritious supplement that works well in a paleo or ketogenic diet. Mushrooms’ fiber also makes you feel fuller longer, potentially helping you to eat less.‡
Low in Sodium
Mushroom powders are low in sodium, so they can be safe for people with hypertension. Despite being a low-sodium food, mushrooms have umami, a savory flavor quality that many people enjoy.‡
Low in Fat
Mushroom powders are very low in fat and cholesterol-free, making them a good addition to a heart-healthy diet.‡
High in Bioactive Compounds and Minerals
Mushroom powders are high in bioactive compounds and minerals. These contribute significantly toward meeting your daily requirement of micronutrients.‡
High in Fiber
Mushroom powders contain soluble fiber that supports healthy digestion by helping to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol as it moves through the body.‡
As a functional food, mushrooms are believed to have health benefits beyond basic nutrition. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the United States’ largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, defines functional foods as, “whole foods along with fortified, enriched, or enhanced foods that have a potentially beneficial effect on health when consumed as part of a varied diet on a regular basis at effective levels based on significant standards of evidence.”
What Are the Specific Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?
The appeal of functional mushroom products is that they contain many substances with potential health benefits for human beings. While the various species of functional mushrooms share some nutritional and bioactive components, each one has unique benefits. Lion’s mane is no exception.
Sometimes referred to as the “smart mushroom,” this shaggy, off-white mushroom is popular in Asian countries. Though occasionally available in US markets, lion’s mane mushrooms may be expensive and hard to find, making whole mushroom powder a more accessible and affordable option. Since some of its bioactive compounds are found only in the fruiting bodies and others only in the mycelium, products that provide both offer a more complete benefit.
The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reviewed and summarized the wide array of literature on Hericium erinaceus, the scientific name for lion’s mane mushrooms, and found its fruiting bodies and mycelium to have “exceptional nutritional and health-promoting aspects.” Their summary outlined the benefits of the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-stimulating properties of lion’s mane as having potential for neuroprotection and improvement of anxiety, depression, and cognitive functioning.‡
Two small studies conducted in Japan offer a glimpse of lion’s mane’s incredible brain-supporting benefits.
- A placebo-controlled, double-blind study with men and women, 50-80 years old, with mild cognitive impairment showed marked improvement in cognitive function over controls with an oral intake of 3000mg of dried lion’s mane powder per day. The benefits decreased within four weeks when the intervention was halted. Lion’s mane powder caused no adverse effects.
- A randomized clinical study of postmenopausal women given 2000mg/day of lion’s mane baked into cookies had improvement of anxiousness and mood in four weeks over controls taking placebos.
In both of these cases, the benefits appear due to the stimulation of nerve growth factor (NGF), a chemical necessary for the growth, maintenance, and survival of our nerve cells. Hericenones from the fruiting body and erinacines from the mycelium of lion’s mane mushrooms may cross the blood-brain barrier to increase secretion of NGF. Regular use of whole mushroom powder confers the benefits of both. This support for cognition and mood may also set the stage for greater creativity.
How Do I Select the Best Lion’s Mane to Put in Coffee?
When it comes time to select a lion’s mane product to supplement your morning coffee, you will notice that not all products are created equally. You will need to know how to evaluate mushroom products for taste, quality, and efficacy. Manufacturers use a variety of processes in preparing functional mushroom products. Some of them provide a more complete, whole food product, while others give you extracts of specific bioactive ingredients.
Om's mushrooms are grown indoors in California under the strictest standards to exclude environmental toxins. Once harvested, we engage in minimal processing to bring the benefits of the whole mushroom to each of our products. After gentle heat activation to increase the bioavailability of their characteristic compounds, our lion’s mane mushrooms are dried, then milled to a fine powder. This increases the surface area for better absorption while preserving the full spectrum of their characteristic nutrients and bioactive compounds.
So, if you are wondering if you can put lion’s mane in coffee, try a teaspoon of Om Mushroom's lion’s mane powder stirred into a bit of cream or nut milk, then add hot coffee and mix. Your coveted morning coffee just got a little more interesting, more nutrient-dense, and enriched with a range of bioactive substances that may support your brain and nervous system. It might just make your day even brighter and more productive.
Can you put lion’s mane in coffee? The answer is a resounding yes. Om Mushroom offers products created from functional, organic mushrooms that have life-changing health benefits. Start your day with our lion’s mane products to give you whole food benefits that support your body’s natural cognitive and immune functions.
‡These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Functional mushroom products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.