New findings show mushrooms protect brain health
(NaturalHealth365) Mushrooms are loved in the culinary world for their rich flavor, but they’re also a nutritional powerhouse packed with antioxidants and other important compounds.
In fact, edible mushrooms – both wild and cultivated – provide a lot of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. So, we’ve known about the nutritional benefits of mushrooms, but new findings show that mushrooms can also protect brain health.
The research we’ll focus on today discovered that when people eat mushrooms (daily), even in small portions, they seem to have a reduced risk of mild cognitive impairment. This is an age-related condition that commonly precedes Alzheimer’s disease.
Mushrooms have a dramatic and surprising effect on cognitive decline
The study, done at the National University of Singapore and published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, lasted for six years and involved more than 600 people. Researchers specifically looked at the consumption of common types of mushrooms, including:
- Dried mushrooms
- White button mushrooms
- Canned button mushrooms
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Golden mushrooms
At the end of the study, researchers discovered that eating two or more servings of mushrooms each week led to a dramatically lower risk of cognitive decline. Seniors involved in the study who regularly had two or more servings of mushrooms had a 50% lower risk of cognitive decline.
Even eating just one portion of mushrooms – weekly – resulted in some benefits for seniors.
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Beyond brain health: Eating mushrooms offer other big health benefits
Beyond the new findings that show mushrooms may boost brain health and lower the risk for cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease, mushrooms offer other significant health benefits, too. Here are just a few of the reasons to add more mushrooms to your plate:
- Cancer prevention: Studies show that the extract of reishi mushrooms and cordyceps mushrooms can help prevent cancer. Other types of mushrooms linked to cancer prevention include Portobello, oyster, and maitake mushrooms.
- Improved immune function: Mushrooms have a positive effect on the immune system. Studies show they enhance immune function by improving the body’s ‘adaptive immune response.’
- Weight management: Since mushrooms are packed with dietary fiber, they can reduce appetite and increase feelings of fullness. This can lower your overall calorie intake, making it easier to maintain a healthy body weight.
- Healthy source of vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem, and it’s been linked to health problems like depression and heart disease. Certain types of mushrooms, especially those exposed to UV light, offer a healthy (and vegan) source of vitamin D. And remember, getting enough vitamin D can help lower your risk for heart disease, bone loss, cancer, and more.
Bottom line, whether you’re concerned about age-related mental decline, dementia or boosting your vitamin D, mushrooms are a nutritional powerhouse worth adding to your diet more often.
Sources for this article include: