Mushrooms Are The New Superfood

Medicinal 'shrooms are the newest superfood

An unexpected ingredient is making its way into a bevy of beverages at cutting-edge juice bars and cafés across the country. Mushrooms have a long history in Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, but a particular strain is quickly gaining superfood status among the wheatgrass and spirulina set.

The desirable 'shrooms du jour are categorized as adaptogens, meaning they help the body cope with external stresses. When consumed whole, as extracts or in decidedly magical-looking powders, adaptogenic mushrooms are believed to have medicinal (though not psychedelic) properties.  

"While all mushrooms provide nutrients like B vitamins and vitamins D1, D2, [plus] minerals like copper, selenium, zinc [and] even fatty acids," only a select few are considered adaptogens, nutritionist Ashley Koff RD, founder of Ashley Koff Approved, explains. Beyond immune system support, adaptogenic mushrooms help the body detoxify, aid the cardiovascular system and supply energy.

Ready to go ask Alice what adaptogenic mushrooms can do for you? Here are five places with medicinal mushrooms on the menu.

① Moon Juice (Los Angeles, California)

"Mushrooms like reishi and Cordyceps . . . work by reducing stress-induced cellular damage—improving mood, boosting immunity and reducing fatigue," explains Amanda Chantal Bacon, the founder of Moon Juice, a fleet of popular modern apothecaries that counts Gwyneth Paltrow among its bold-faced fans. Bacon champions adaptogenic all-stars like chaya, Cordyceps, lion's mane and turkey tail, among others, and features them in at-home shake kits, powders such as Brain Dust and Spirit Dust, and cold-brew coffees with almonds and coconut nectar.

Photo: Courtesy of Moon Juice

② Alchemy (Los Angeles, California)

Adaptogenic mushrooms run rife throughout Los Angeles's wellness-centered culture, popping up at another Angeleno favorite, Alchemy. This West Hollywood destination for gluten-free vegan fare pours a reishi-boosted cold-brew coffee called Energy Latte, made with such cosmic pantry staples as maca, chaga, palm nectar and coconut milk.

③ JRINK Juicery (Washington, D.C.)

"Growing up, my mom would never offer me Tylenol but the old age trick of lemon, honey, ginger, hot water, or boiled mushroom tea," Shizu Okusa, cofounder of JRINK Juicery, reports. The juice bar and liquid delivery service has locations in the District and Northern Virginia, and recently decided to rerelease a spicy cacao latte spiked with chaga. "[W]e realized it filled a purpose that our customer had asked for: coffee replacement and natural energy," Okusa says.

④ Lifehouse Tonics + Elixirs (Los Angeles, California)

Adaptogenic mushrooms appear in almost every beverage at Lifehouse Tonics, a new Hollywood destination for clean eating and drinking. More than 12 types of medicinal mushrooms pop up in raw snacks, which change daily and occasionally include brownies, as well as drinks like the Fungi Palmer, a bracing blend of cold-pressed lemon juice, Assam tea and five super 'shrooms.  

⑤ Bamboo Juice (Atlanta, Georgia)

Thanks to their earthy, woodsy taste, adaptogenic mushrooms pair well with cacao and coffee flavors, which is one of the reasons why Kelley Henry of Atlanta's Bamboo Juice shop and delivery services infuses reishi and chaga into the coffee grinds that flavor her coffee almond milk. Henry says that medicinal mushrooms "are a powerful and potent source of antioxidants to help us ward of potential disease and illness," to boot.

Magical mushrooms just took on a whole new meaning.