Culinary Mushrooms Can Help Protect the Brain and Cognitive Health

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Mushrooms have been one of my favorite foods to eat for all of their medicinal benefits. We know quit a bit about their ability to increase immunity, fight pathogens and protect our health. But did you know eating mushrooms can also increase your cognitive health in our later years.

A study done by the Department of Psychological medicine and Biochemistry in Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine in Singapore has studied the benefits of eating mushrooms and its effects on cognitive health.

In their study they observed over 600 seniors over the age of 60. These seniors were followed from 2011 to 2017. Over this time, they ate at least two servings (150g or more) of edible mushrooms weekly. In this group they saw up to a 50% decrease in their likelihood of developing mild cognitive impairment.

The reason for this was due to an active compound in mushrooms called ergothioneine or ET. This compound is a unique and powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecule. The human body does not normally create this compound so eating mushrooms is a great way to add this powerful agent to our bodies.

Areas of the brain use a lot of oxygen consumption to work. This means that this area of our bodies are highly susceptible to accumulated Reactive Oxygen Species as a biproduct. The ET compound can find its way to the brain and help neutralize these ROS species that cause cognitive decline in the brain.

Also, mushrooms have been shown to inhibit the production of beta-amyloid. This is a product that has been associated with brain disease such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Besides ET there are a lot of other compounds that are in mushrooms that also have a cognitive benefit. This once again is why choosing what we eat is so important. Food is a message and once in our body can help our bodies or hurt our bodies. In the case of mushrooms there are so many molecular benefits that aid our health and well-being.

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