Researching the antiaging properties of mushrooms
"What we found is that, without a doubt, mushrooms are highest dietary source of these two antioxidants taken together, and that some types are really packed with both of them," said Beelman.
The Penn State study, published in the journal Food Chemistry, found amounts of ergothioneine and glutathione in mushrooms vary by species. Porcini, a wild variety, has the highest amount of the two amino acids among the 13 species tested. "This species is really popular in Italy, where searching for it has become a national pastime,” Beelman noted.
Even the more common mushroom types, like white button mushrooms, which contain less of the antioxidants than some other species, still have far higher amounts than most other foods, according the researchers. What’s more, all species of mushrooms have balanced amounts of ergothioneine and glutathione — if mushrooms are high in glutathione, they are also equally high in ergothioneine.
Benefits of eating mushrooms
Whether you cook mushrooms or eat them raw, you are still consuming the powerful antioxidants they contain. Cooking mushrooms does not seem to significantly affect the potential antiaging compounds in mushrooms because they are very heat stable.
It appears populations who eat a lot of mushrooms have lower rates of certain diseases that normally increase with age, lending more credence to the idea mushrooms have antiaging properties and other beneficial health effects, according to the Penn State researchers.
"It's preliminary, but you can see that countries that have more ergothioneine in their diets, countries like France and Italy, also have lower incidences of neurodegenerative diseases, while people in countries like the United States, which has low amounts of ergothioneine in the diet, have a higher probability of diseases like Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's," Beelman said.
April 09, 2020
Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA