Gone are the days when cream and sugar were the only ways to enhance our morning cup of joe. Alternative milks, organic simple syrups, even hot sauce (yes, really): home baristas can now be more creative than ever, equipped with healthier and more sustainable ways to sweeten the (coffee) cup.
While I am not a coffee expert, I do I love my morning cuppa and enjoy exploring different ways to up the ante on standard crema. I’m not brave enough to pour hot sauce into my cup; However, I to have ventured into caffeinated new territory with Rainbo’s Forest Juice ($31), a mushroom-infused maple syrup that’s both functional and delicious. The sweet elixir can be mixed into coffee, drizzled over ice cream, or topped on pancakes, adding sweetness and a boost in nutritional benefits, thanks to an abundance of magic mushrooms.
It’s no secret that mushrooms have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, drawing positive attention for their benefits for the brain and body. While mushrooms, like those found in Rainbo products, are still being researched, funky mushrooms have won the hearts of health professionals for their long-standing adaptogenic properties. Whether it’s immunity, gut health, better sleep, or bone density, these powerful mushrooms hold a lot of promise.
“With sufficient amounts of each of these ingredients, this functional simple mushroom syrup can be a great addition to a nutrient-dense diet,” says Jenna Stangland, MS, RDN, co-founder of A4 Health and team dietitian for the Minnesota Timberwolves. . Let’s break them down:
Chaga is a fungus that grows on birch trees in cold climates that is commonly dried, ground into a powder, and steeped in tea. It’s packed with antioxidants and has been reported to increase longevity and improve immunity, even protecting against diseases like cancer.
“There have been a number of studies on the aqueous extract of chaga demonstrating its potent anti-tumor and anti-cancer activities in various countries,” Naturopathic Physician Dr. Melanie Keller previously explained to us. “Chaga has also shown the ability to suppress cancer progression. One study found that a 60 percent tumor shrinkage was observed in mice with tumors, while in metastatic mice, the number of nodules decreased by 25 percent compared to the control group. However, the actual effect and underlying mechanisms are still unclear.” (Of course, more human studies need to be done, but initial results are promising.)
Turkey tail is another immunity-boosting adaptogen found primarily in North America in hardwood logs (trees without needles.) Its bright orange and red wavy shape mimics that of a turkey plume, hence the name.
Fun moniker aside, it’s linked to gut health and immunity, reportedly reducing oxidative stress throughout the body and rebalancing good bacteria. “turkey tail mushrooms specifically they have been shown to be a key driver in fighting cancer and boosting immunity, as depicted in an NIH-funded study that looked at chemotherapy supports outside of pharmaceuticals,” says Stangland.
Like the others, reishi is a fungus rich in antioxidants appreciated for its preventive properties against diseases. But Stangland says it also contains bone-strengthening properties and has also been investigated as a pain reliever. Additionally, studies show that reishi may be beneficial for sleep and stress, prolonging sleep time and encouraging a healthy nap cycle. Other research shows that it can support liver and heart health, lowering blood pressure and improving circulation. Suffice it to say that reishi is an inexhaustible source; no wonder it has earned the nickname “mushroom of immortality”.
All of these are combined with Canadian maple syrup, which gives Rainbo’s Forest juice a sweet, woody flavor that tastes like breakfast. Poured into the coffee, it tastes delicious-a major upgrade from my standard Coffee Mate.
Now, as with all dietary supplements, you’ll want to consult your RD or doctor before adding it to your morning routine. Hannah Feinberg, MS, a sports and wellness nutritionist, is a strong believer in functional medicine, but recommends always consulting with a professional first.
“Buyers should beware of all supplements. This is because they are not regulated by the FDA, therefore there is no guarantee that what you are buying is actually what you are getting – whenever possible choose a supplement that has been third party tested”. she explains. “On another note, functional mushrooms May interact with common medications. That’s why it’s extremely important to have a discussion with your doctor and/or RDN before starting such a supplement.”
If your doctor gives you the go-ahead, try swapping out your coffee creamer with this longevity-boosting elixir. It’s the delicious boost to your morning rush that you didn’t know you needed.
Do you still have doubts about the fashion of mushrooms? Find out more about ‘mushrooms’ below.
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