Eating mushrooms can help prevent depression, Penn State researchers found

Studies have shown that eating mushrooms can positively affect body health and, according to new research, it appears that consuming fungi can also be beneficial to mental well-being.

Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine found that people who ate mushrooms were more likely to experience symptoms of depression, according to a the study published Monday in the Journal of Affective Disorder.

Researchers have pointed to the presence of ergothioneine for reducing the level of depression in people who eat mushrooms. Studies have shown that antioxidants such as ergothioneine can protect against cell and tissue damage and can help prevent bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia.

“Mushrooms are the highest dietary source of the amino acid ergothioneine-an anti-inflammatory that humans cannot synthesize,” lead researcher Djibril Ba said. “Having high levels of it can lower the risk of oxidative stress, which can also reduce the symptoms of depression.”

The researchers also noted the benefits of consuming white seeded mushrooms. These types of mushrooms contain potassium, which is believed to help reduce anxiety. Other types of edible mushrooms can also have an effect on preventing mental health conditions.

The study analyzed dietary and mental health data collected from 2005-2016 in a national survey of nearly 24,700 U.S. adults. The researchers found that the weighted prevalence of depression was at only 5.9% among participants who said they ate mushrooms.

College -educated, white women were more likely to eat mushrooms than the other groups surveyed, according to the researchers. The average age of the participants was 45 years old, while the majority of respondents identified themselves as white.

The data did not provide details on specific mushroom species; therefore, researchers could not determine the effects of certain types of mushrooms on depression.

Food codes issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture were used to determine mushroom consumption, the researchers said, which could lead to some entries being misclassified or incorrectly recorded.

Previous studies have found that consuming mushrooms is possible lower the risk of dying early and prevent or treat diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Mushrooms are great food help make your diet healthier. Fungi contain no cholesterol and gluten and are low in fat, sugar, sodium and calories. Mushrooms are also great sources of protein, B-vitamins and fiber.

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