Energizing, calming, balancing.
By now, you’ve likely added a whole repository of superfoods—think turmeric, matcha, moringa and beet—into your latte. As plant-based has proven, it’s here to stay. So we’ve dived into the next thing to make it into your afternoon pick-me-up: mushrooms. Mushrooms aren’t anything new; they’ve been in the arsenal of Eastern-medicine alchemists for centuries, and a renaissance of these age-old superfoods are coming up in the form of warm beverages. But why are they so popular? To find out, we spoke with Tero Isokauppila, founder of Four Sigmatic and certified plant-based nutritionist, who gave us a quick rundown on the different varieties of mushrooms and their benefits.
“Functional mushrooms have been used for centuries for their healing benefits. They are an excellent source of nutrients [like] vitamin D, copper, biotin, selenium, and several B vitamins,” explains Isokauppila. “The most impressive part about them is the powerful and extremely well studied polysaccharides—energy-storing molecules—that they contain.” More importantly, mushrooms are adaptogens, which promote a healthy and stable adrenal system to help manage stress-induced hormones and ailments. In other words, they keep your body and mind in balance.
Chaga is a natural immune booster that may be the most nutrient-dense of the mushroom species. Found only through foraging in cold regions, Chaga is a hard-to-find fungus that promotes everything from healthy digestion to protection from DNA damage. As such, Isokauppila recommends kick-starting your day with it. “As the ‘king of mushrooms,’ Chaga is the perfect boost we often crave in the morning,” he says. Can someone say longevity?
As an energizing adaptogen, Cordyceps can improve endurance and stamina thanks to this superfood’s invigorating qualities. “Coffee can give you an energy spike, followed by a crash,” explains Isokauppila. “Cordyceps, on the other hand, help your body produce its own energy.” Perk up in other ways too; Cordyceps act as a natural aphrodisiac. Thank us later.
“Due to its cognitive-enhancing properties, Lion’s Mane is a go-to for when the brain needs to get back into focus,” Isokauppila mentions. Referred to as the “smart mushroom,” Lion’s Mane is best known for its ability to enhance memory. “This mushroom supports concentration, so it’s a solid pre-study sipper when reading or writing.”
“Drink Reishi to address occasional stress or stints of insomnia,” says Isokauppila. For major chill, Isokauppila recommends a cup of warm Reishi two hours before bed as a natural relaxing sleep aid.
To get you started, health and holistic lifestyle expert Lee Tilghanere’s easy mushroom latte recipe.
1 tsp Sun Potion Chaga Mushroom
1 tsp collagen
1⁄2 tsp pine pollen
1⁄2 tsp Ashwagandha
1⁄2 tsp He Shou Wu
1 tbsp coconut butter
16 oz. boiling water
1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high for a minute.
2. Finish with freshly ground cinnamon and enjoy.