In our quest to age gracefully and stay healthy, mushrooms may be the answer to all of our aging questions.
Health Benefits of Mushrooms
Mushrooms are full of health benefits such as boosting the immune system, and they’re also a great source of vitamin D which helps to maintain healthy bones.
A recent study recently revealed that the fungus could also contain anti-aging properties. Study researchers from Pennsylvania State University discovered that mushrooms contain high amounts of antioxidants – ergothioneine and glutathione. These compounds have been known to help prevent the onset of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The study examined 13 different species of mushrooms and the mushroom containing the highest amount of the two antioxidants was the Porcini mushroom, which originates from Italy. The study also revealed that when exposed to heat, the levels of ergothioneine and glutathione did not change. Therefore, cooking mushrooms does not rid them of their antioxidant benefits.
Why our bodies need antioxidants
In order to produce energy, we have to oxidize our food. However, this process generates toxic by-products known as free radicals. Free radicals can cause cell damage and this leads to premature aging in the body which in turn increases the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cancer. The purpose of the antioxidants – ergothioneine and glutathione – is to help neutralize the effects of free radicals and lower severe health risks.
According to the author of the study, Dr. Robert Beelman, France and Italy are countries that incorporate high amounts of ergothioneine in their diets, and so they have lower rates of neurodegenerative diseases. Furthermore, residents of the United States have low amounts of ergothioneine in their diets and the country also has a high probability of diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Although it may sound expensive, eating like the French is not that hard. Dr. Beelman suggests that eating five button mushrooms a day will help keep your body and mind as young as you feel. Portobello mushrooms have also recently proven to be effective in fighting cancer, inflammation, and other illnesses.