Omgee. This Cacao Mushroom Latte is one of my go-to cozy cups of deliciousness that I have pretty much daily. It’s basically a supercharged hot chocolate with big-time health benefits.
And your first question for me may be…
“But does it taste like mushrooms?”
Nope – not all. It’s the most perfect combination of rich chocolate, creamy nut butter and a touch of sweetness.
Now that I’ve convinced you to give it a try, let’s dig into the benefits of cacao and functional mushrooms.
While they are quite similar, cacao and cocoa powders have a few main differences. Cacao is the seed from which cocoa is made. It’s the purest form of chocolate you can eat (or drink!).
The cacao seeds haven’t been roasted and are minimally processed which allows the nutrients and enzymes to remain intact. The seeds are dried, fermented and either crushed to make cacao nibs or ground to make cacao powder. The end result is a nutrient-dense, unrefined powder that can be used in recipes just as cocoa would be.
On the other hand, cocoa powder is made from cacao seeds that have been roasted at high temperatures. Unfortunately, during the roasting process, many of the beneficial nutrients (like antioxidants) are destroyed. Cocoa powder is then used to make the majority of chocolate products on the market.
Good news. I have a ton of cacao recipes outside of this Mushroom Cacao Elixir including breakfast options, smoothies and sweet treats.
Mushrooms have been used in healing systems like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Indigenous Medicine for thousands of years. Traditionally, they’ve been used therapeutically for almost every ailment ranging from mood to immune support.
Today, they’re used much in the same way and can be found in tinctures, powder, or capsules. I love both Harmonic Arts (Canadian company!) and Four Sigmatic for their high-quality medicinal mushroom products.
Note: I used Harmonic Arts 5 Mushroom Chocolate for this Cacao Mushroom Latte recipe.
While there are tens of thousands of mushrooms, we’ll focus on the five most studied and edible medicinal fungi. You’ll also find them in the two brands mentioned above.
Known as the “King of Mushrooms,” Chaga mushrooms grow wild on birch trees in very cold climates like Northern Canada, Alaska and Siberia. They are sometimes found on beech, chestnut, alder or hornbeam trees.
Traditionally, they’ve been used for immune health, gastrointestinal issues, abnormal tissue growth, diabetes and heart conditions.
Referred to as a “hedgehog mushroom,” Lion’s Mane is found in North America, Europe and Asia. It grows on both living and dead broadleaf trees. Lion’s Made is mainly cultivated in Asia and has been used in TCM for thousands of years.
A 2015 study stated Lion’s Mane is “antibiotic, anticarcinogenic, antidiabetic, antifatigue, antihypertensive, antihyperlipidemic, antisenescence, cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, and neuroprotective properties and improvement of anxiety, cognitive function, and depression.”
Also called “caterpillar fungus,” Cordyceps are parasitic in nature and grow on caterpillars. They’re parasitic because they end up “eating” their caterpillar host. Cordyceps was first discovered in the Himalayas.
One of the most researched mushrooms, turkey tail grows on dead logs in woodland environments around the world. These forest-loving mushrooms get their name from the brown, tan and orange rings on the fungi that look like turkey feathers.
Traditionally, turkey tail mushrooms have been used for both immune support and digestive imbalances.
Studied in China for over 2000 years, Reishi is the “Mushroom of Spiritual Potency.” They’re native to China, Korea and Japan. Traditionally, Reishi has been used to promote vitality and longevity.
Being an immune modular, Reishi can help the body return to homeostasis, encourage hormonal balance and deeply support the immune system.
This powerhouse fungi have a long list of ailments it can help protect against, including skin disorders, frequent infections, digestive problems, fatigue, abnormal cell growth, autoimmune disease, sleep disorders and mood imbalances.