The Mushroom Boom?


If you are anything like me, you want to be mentally sharp until the end of your life. And there’s new evidence saying that consuming mushrooms will do the job.

In a 6 year study of 600 seniors who were 60 or over, researchers from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore found that people who ate more than 1½ cups of mushrooms (about half a plate) a week were 50 percent less likely to suffer mild cognitive impairment.

Mild cognitive impairment often shows up as subtle memory loss and mild problems with speaking, paying attention, and coordination. These seniors ate 6 common varieties of mushrooms, which doctors say contain a compound called ergothioneine, or ET. It’s known to have unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. ET deficiencies are linked to neurodegeneration. ET may even help nerves grow, and inhibit the production of tau and plaques which are known as hallmarks of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

From here, the Chinese team hopes to use a randomized trial with pure forms of ET and other plant based ingredients to figure out if these phytonutrients really delay cognitive decline, and if they can create a special diet that encourages healthy brain aging. Dietitians say microwaving or grilling mushrooms best preserves their nutritional benefits, which include being low in carbs and fat. Just make sure you clean them well before eating them.

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