Calling all mushroom lovers! There is nothing like the savory deliciousness of shiitake, oyster, Portobello, or white button mushrooms in stir-fries, soups, pasta dishes, or sauces.
But it’s not just your taste buds that stand to benefit.
Eating mushrooms also may help protect your brain as it ages.
Researchers in Singapore, where mushrooms are a staple, recently found that older adults who eat more than two 3/4-cup servings of cooked mushrooms weekly have a 50 percent lower risk of mild cognitive impairment, a condition that often precedes dementia.
Lesser amounts of mushrooms also showed some benefit.
While this study focused on six types of mushrooms that are commonly eaten in Singapore, there’s reason to think that all edible mushrooms may be protective.
In this and other studies, scientists have honed in on a compound called ergothineine (ET), which has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects in the body and is present in all mushrooms.
One study showed that people with mild cognitive impairment have low levels of ET.
Mushrooms are also a good source of nutrients such as B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, and selenium.
Add them to other sautéed vegetables, toss them in salads, roast them with olive oil and a little salt, or layer them into lasagna.
Two more perks: mushrooms’ rich, savory flavor (aka umami) can help you cut down on meat, and eating umami-rich foods might help to prevent overeating and can lead to better food choices.
Grilled Portobello burgers, anyone?
Source: The Association between Mushroom Consumption and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Community-Based Cross-Sectional Study in Singapore.