Mushrooms May Help Lower Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment
Mushrooms contain a unique antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties called ergothioneine. A recent study has found that consumption of mushrooms is associated with a reduced risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
The researchers used data from 663 participants aged 60 and above who took part in the Diet and Healthy Aging study. They looked at consumption of golden, oyster, shiitake, white button, dried, and canned mushrooms. The participants underwent a two-hour standard neuropsychological assessment and received a dementia rating.
Participants who consumed 2 or more portions of mushrooms per week had a nearly 50% less chance of suffering from MCI compared to those who consumed mushrooms less than once per week. One portion was defined as ¾ of a cup of cooked mushrooms. This association held regardless of age, gender, education, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, physical activities, and social activities.
A previous study had found that plasma levels of ergothioneine in people with MCI were markedly lower than people of similar age who did not have MCI. The researchers stated that ergothioneine may help protect the brain from oxidative damage.
The study was conducted by researchers from the National University of Singapore. It was published March 12, 2019 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.