The weather is starting to cool down and the holidays are creeping upon us. I don’t know about you, but my favorite holiday activity is curling up with a glass of hot cocoa and watching a marathon of holiday movies. Unfortunately most premixed hot chocolates are full of sugar and preservatives that aren’t so good for you. The best option is to make it yourself. Really it shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes and the extra steps will be so worth it. It’s also a good way to incorporate medicinal mushrooms into your diet! Cacao and mushrooms complement each other in both taste and health benefits.
The Magic of Medicinal Mushrooms
Medicinal, or functional, mushrooms are a class of fungi that have benefits beyond just their nutritional value. They have special compounds giving them benefits like being anti-inflammatory or even having anti-cancer properties. These mushrooms have a long history of use in traditional medicine, particularly in Asian cultures like Chinese and Japanese traditional medicine. Modern research is now proving that these purported benefits, touted by traditional medicines, are true and backed by science.
Choosing the Right Mushrooms
There are hundreds of edible mushroom varieties, but only a handful of mushrooms get to be categorized as functional. Here we will go over which mushrooms you need to add into your routine for your special wants and needs.
- Focus, Memory and Brain Health
Lion’s Mane mushroom is one of the best brain boosting natural supplements on the market. The compounds found in this mushroom contribute to growth of new neurons which in turn, increase focus and memory. Studies also show it is promising in preventing neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Atlzheimer’s disease.
- Immune Function
Reishi, Chaga and Turkey Tail mushrooms all benefit a healthy immune system. Reishi is known as the mushroom of immortality in Chinese medicine. It can improve everything from immune function, to liver health, to even mental health. Turkey Tail mushroom is also beneficial for immune health and digestive health. Studies show that compounds in this mushroom can also help fight certain cancers.
Cordyceps is the go-to mushroom for clean, sustained energy. Traditionally it is used in Asia for respiratory conditions and altitude sickness since it helps the body uptake more oxygen. This mushroom is perfect for athletes and anybody looks to stay energized throughout the day.
- Destress and Reduce Anxiety
Reishi and Lion’s Mane mushrooms are known for their ability to boost mental health. Reishi, specifically, is known to help decrease stress and anxiety. It is a good mushroom to take at night as it also helps with sleep and relaxation. Lion’s Mane also has these abilities to a lesser degree. Because it grows new neural pathways, it is good at improving overall mental state.
Gathering Your Ingredients
Making mushroom hot chocolate is simple. Here are the ingredients you will need.
- Mālama Mushrooms Mushroom Cacao Mix
- Milk of your choice (Our favorite is oat milk or canned coconut milk)
- Sweetener of your choice
It’s that simple! If you don’t have a mushroom cacao mix you can use any mushroom powder and 100% cacao powder used in equal parts.
Step By Step Recipe Guide
Start by measuring out 2 tablespoons of Mālama Cacao Mix into your mug. If you have the cacao powder and mushroom powder separate, use a tablespoon of each. I promise you will barely be able to tell that there are mushrooms in there. Then fill your cup with 4oz of boiling water and 4-6oz of warm milk or creamer. Lastly, add your sweetener of choice. If you have a milk frother, this does a great job of incorporating the powders. If you don’t have one, you can stir vigorously with a whisk or fork.
Top with cinnamon, marshmallows or anything you heart desires. It’s really that simple and I promise you tastes way better than anything premixed.
Health Benefits and Nutritional Value of Cacao and Mushrooms
Did you know that cacao itself has a high nutritional value? Cacao and dark chocolate are rich in antioxidants, are anti-inflammatory, lowers cholesterol and enhances mood. It is also high in the essential nutrients fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese.
When cacao is combined with functional mushrooms, the benefits are increased. Cacao is a vasodilator. This means that it relaxes your blood vessels and improves your circulation. This makes it easier for the nutrients in mushrooms to be distributed throughout your body. The synergistic effect of cacao and mushrooms make them a perfect combination for hot chocolate (especially during cold and flu season as it gets colder). Not to mention this has to be the most delicious way to get your mushrooms in.
If you’ve made it this far we’re hoping you’re gonna try it out for yourself! We even have a little 15% discount for you to try our Mālama Mushrooms Cacao Mixes. Use code MALAMABLOG at checkout for 15% off any purchase. These also make for the perfect holiday gift or stocking stuffer. Nothing says Christmas like hot chocolate and mushrooms ;)