Aren’t mushrooms great? Not only can they add hearty flavour to an otherwise bland bolognese, but they can also improve our mental health and brain function.
According to a new study by the National University of Singapore, which was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, there is a special compound found in all mushrooms that can help prevent cognitive decline as we get older. The study followed 600 participants for six years, prescribing them varying daily doses of mushrooms. They concluded that the group that ate the most mushrooms – of any variety – had 50% less cases of cognitive mental decline than the control group.
The scientists behind the study believe a compound known as ergothioneine to be reason behind the promising results, but more research is needed to pinpoint exactly how the compound takes effect. As well as ergothioneine, mushrooms are also naturally high in other brain boosting compounds (namely, erinacines, scabronines, and hericenones) which are believed to support nerve function and prevent the growth of beta amyloid, which has been linked to Alzheimer’s.
Degenerative mental health is more common than we might think – according to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 6% of people in their 60’s experience it, so to get such definitive results from a medicine so simple is very exciting indeed.