Of all the little joys in life, that first cup of coffee in the morning has got to be up there. A mood-boosting, action-inducing hug in a mug, there's just nothing like it to wake you up and get the day started. And it seems we're increasingly a nation reliant on caffeine, with Brits powering through an impressive 95 million cups of the good stuff every single day, according to the British Coffee Association.
We've got to admit that this nectar can come with its drawbacks. If you've ever had one to many cups and felt the dreaded coffee shakes, or opted for a cup far too late in the afternoon and found youself staring at the ceiling come 1am, you'll know exactly what we mean. Now though, adaptogenic coffee - that is, coffee stuffed with mushrooms - is holding out a light, offering to help you enjoy all the good stuff, while minimising cortisol levels. Coffee and lower stress? Now we’re really interested.
What is an adaptogen?
Adaptogens are plant-based non-toxic substances, predominantly herbs, credited with helping the body adapt to external stressors, whether they be physical, emotional or environmental. Adaptogens are best known for their stress-busting effects, but in doing so are touted to reduce anxiety and help ward off insomnia, among other things.
How can you incorporate adaptogens into your diet?
While many supplements exist, the simplest way to do incorporate them into your diet is through food and drink. Adding ingredients such as turmeric to soups or ginseng to a stir fry is an easy route to incorporation, but it can be even easier.
London Nootropics are among a new wave of wellness brands designed to make incorporating adaptogens simple, having created premium adaptogenic coffee blends designed to help you flow through your day. The concept is simple: take a great tasting coffee as the base and add a carefully curated selection of adaptogenic extracts (no sad back-of-the-fridge mushrooms to be found here) so that you get the best of both worlds.
So how does adaptogenic coffee work?
The mushrooms give the coffee a slightly earthier edge, but it's the benefits that shine through. Caffeine is a nootropic: it increases our alertness and attention by blocking the adenosine receptors which make us drowsy; however, caffeine can also increase our cortisol levels, aka our stress hormone. Adaptogens help balance our cortisol levels, allowing us to enjoy coffee, feeling perky and revived. Essentially, adding adaptogens to coffee allows the drinker to embrace the benefits of regular coffee, whilst minimising side effects such as jitters, anxiety and the dreaded coffee crash.
What’s actually in adaptogenic coffee?
“It depends what blend you opt for, as each is designed for a specific purpose - Grind for mental clarity and focus, Zen to alleviate stress & anxiety and Mojo for a natural boost” London Nootropics co-founder Zain Peer told Balance Festival.
Mojo, for example, contains Cordyceps mushroom which is known to increase aerobic capacity and oxygen flow around your body, and also to boost ATP - our energy molecule. The Grind blend contains Lion’s Mane mushroom, which is known to improve memory, mental clarity, concentration and overall brain health. Mushrooms by their nature are also high in anti-oxidants, which neutralise the free radicals in our bodies that contribute to ageing and illness, therefore protecting our health at a cellular level too. Win, win!
Straying away from mushrooms, the Zen blend, uses ashwaganda root extract, which has been shown to support the body’s reaction to stress, and water soluble CBD. Proven to have a high bioavailability, ashwaganda has also been shown to alleviate anxiety, enhance memory & cognition.
How can I try mushroom coffee?
Try London Nootropics for yourself and get 20% off their entire collection using the code code BALANCEFESTIVAL.
For more info, and a deeper insight into the techy stuff behind their coffee, visit their website