Researchers have established that seniors who eat over two standard portions of mushrooms per week have 50% reduced chances of mild cognitive impairment. This is according to researchers at the National University of Singapore’s Department of Psychological Medicine and Department of Biochemistry.
Mushrooms can reduce MCI
The team defined a standard portion as three-quarters of a cup of cooked mushrooms of around 150 grams. Therefore two portions will be equal to almost half a plate. Although the portions act as a guideline, it has been established that even one portion of mushrooms per week could still benefit seniors by reducing the possibility of mild cognitive impairment.
The lead author of the research and assistant professor at NUS Department of Psychological Medicine, Lei Feng, said that this correlation is surprisingly encouraging. Feng said that it appears that a single ingredient available in mushrooms could have a significant impact on cognitive decline. Researchers conducted the study between 2011 and 2017, gathering data from over 600 Chinese seniors above 60 years living in Singapore. The Singapore Ministry of Health’s National Medical research council and Life Sciences Institute supported the study.
Usually, mild cognitive impairment is a stage between cognitive decline of normal aging and serious dementia decline. Affected individuals show signs of forgetfulness or memory loss with a deficit in other cognitive functions such as attention, visuospatial abilities, and language. The changes tend to be subtle because the individuals don’t experience disabling deficits characteristic of Alzheimer’s and other dementia forms.
Ergothioneine associated with reduced cognitive decline
The researchers indicated that the relationship between mushroom eating and MCI could result from a specific compound found in the mushrooms. Some of the commonly consumed mushrooms in Singapore include oyster, golden, shiitake, and white button mushrooms. The compound of interest found in all these varieties is ergothioneine (ET), an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that humans cannot synthesize on their own. Humans can get ET from dietary sources such as the consumption of mushrooms. Other compounds, such as erinacines, hericenones, dictyophorines, and scarbronines, could also reduce cognitive decline.