Mushrooms As Medicine
Move over golden lattes and aloe vera water, mushroom coffee is the new darling of the superfood world and it has come with more hype than a crate of Kombucha. And it’s not just a standard cup of joe that mushrooms have taken over, between mushroom shakes and fungi facials, the mushroom market is in full shroom boom.
According to Hitwise, there has been a 3099% increase in mushroom searches over the last three years, with popularity shooting up at the beginning of 2018, in particular, suggesting mushroom enthusiasts are interested in incorporating this new superfood in their daily diets. Food Navigator found that year-on-year sales for food products incorporating medicinal mushrooms have risen between 200-800%, depending on the variety, with the mushroom market expected to exceed $50 billion in the next six years, according to Grand View Research.
Paul Stamet’s TED talk titled ‘6 ways mushrooms can save the world’ has been viewed nearly 5 million times and Whole Foods have listed medicinal mushrooms as a top food trend for 2018. The retailer has seen significant uptick in mushroom broths, coffee, and chocolate powders, even body-care products like soaps and shampoo
So why is the wellness world going loco over fungi?
As consumers increasingly look to incorporate food products with purported healthy attributes, ‘functional foods’ (foods that have health benefits beyond basic nutrition) are having their moment. Meanwhile, adaptogens (chemicals that allegedly possess anti-stress properties) are also somewhat taking over the wellness world, making headlines. The claims surrounding mushrooms, meet at the nexus of these trends.
Depending on the variety, medicinal mushrooms are said to regulate blood sugar levels, support digestive health, ward off bacteria and viruses, energise and beautify, increase mood levels and even fight cancer, all of which begins to explain the hype and headlines.