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article imageConsuming mushrooms may help address cognitive decline: Study

By Tim Sandle     Apr 2, 2019 in Health
Food and medical scientists based in Singapore have found that elderly people who consume more than two standard portions of mushrooms each week appear to have a 50 percent reduced chance of developing mild cognitive impairment.
There are many food and health related stories, and many turn out to be based on partial research or no scientific basis whatsoever. However, the new research into the regular consumption of fungi and cases of cognitive decline provides a plausible basis for further study.
The new research comes from the National University of Singapore, led by Assistant Professor Lei Feng and it is based on a correlation between a given level of consumption and cognitive tests in seniors.
Discussing the research findings, Feng said: “This correlation is surprising and encouraging. It seems that a commonly available single ingredient could have a dramatic effect on cognitive decline.”
The study was run over a six-year period (2011 to 2017), and the data was collected data from more than 600 Chinese seniors over the age of 60 living in Singapore. Cognitive decline was assessed on the basis of various neuropsychological tests, intended to measure various aspects of a person's cognitive abilities.
In terms of the consumption of mushrooms, a portion of the edible fungi relates to three quarters of a cup of cooked mushrooms with typical weight of 150 grams. Two portions is equivalent to around half a standard dinner plate. The portion sizes act only as a guideline, the general inference is that consuming mushrooms appears to beneficial.
The mushrooms that were regularly consumed by those surveyed were: golden, oyster, shiitake and white button mushrooms, plus various dried and canned mushrooms. These types of mushroom contain a compound called ergothioneine (a naturally occurring amino acid and is a thiourea derivative of histidine). The compound has previously been observed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and it cannot be synthesized naturally by humans, and therefore it needs to be included as part of a diet.
The tests were conducted against people’s dietary habits. No specific studies were run with test groups who eat mushrooms against control groups who did not, which means the correlation observed would need to be tested out further using more scientifically designed studies.
The findings are published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. The research paper is titled “The Association between Mushroom Consumption and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Community-Based Cross-Sectional Study in Singapore.”
More about Healthy eating, dement, Mental health, cognitive, Mushrooms
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