Yes, you heard that right!
In a six-year study, seniors consuming 300 grams of mushrooms weekly had 50% less risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), often referred to as pre-dementia.
The researchers believe the reason for the reduced prevalence of MCI in mushroom eaters may be down to a specific amino acid, Ergothioneine (ET), found in almost all mushroom varieties.
“We’re very interested in a compound called Ergothioneine (ET). It’s a unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory amino acid, which humans are unable to synthesize on their own. But it can be obtained from dietary sources, such as mushrooms.”
– Dr Irwin Cheah, Senior Research Fellow, NUS Department of Biochemistry
“This correlation is surprising and encouraging. It seems that a commonly available single ingredient could have a dramatic effect on cognitive decline!”
– Lei Feng, Assistant Professor and Lead Author of this Study, NUS Department of Psychological Medicine
Mushroom varieties used in the study
Six commonly consumed mushrooms in Singapore were referenced in the study: golden, oyster, shiitake, white button, dried, and canned mushrooms. However, it is likely that other mushrooms not referenced may also have beneficial effects.
Recommended mushroom portions
For the study, a portion was defined as three quarters of a cup of cooked mushrooms with an average weight of around 150 grams. Two portions would be equivalent to approximately half a plate. While the portion sizes act as a guideline, it was shown that even one small portion of mushrooms a week may still be beneficial to reduce chances of MCI.
So, don’t forget to add mushrooms to your grocery list the next time you hit the market!