According to new research eating two or more portions of mushrooms per week could halve your risk of bran decline in old age.
The study, which was recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that older people who eat 300g or more of cooked mushrooms have a reduced risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Eating smaller amounts could also be beneficial too.
The study included 600 over-60s who were interviewed about their diet and health during six years. The participants took part in brain function tests and were given a ‘dementia rating’ to assess how much their minds had changed through ageing. Those who ate a serving of mushrooms were found to be better off, thanks to a specific compound found in almost all varieties.
The compound within mushrooms called ergothioneine (ET), which is only absorbed through diet, is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which could benefit the brain.
As well as reducing MCI, mushrooms also contain protein and fibre, B vitamins and an antioxidant called selenium, which supports the immune system and prevents damage to cells and tissues.
Mushrooms have also been shown to help lower cholesterol and contain phytonutrients that can help prevent cells from sticking to blood vessel walls and forming plaque build-up. This in turn helps protect the heart by maintaining healthy blood pressure and circulation.
So, when you’re cooking up your evening meal, why not pop some mushrooms on the plate too? You could try a slow cooker mushroom risotto, add them to a chicken and leek pie or try a mushroom stroganoff.