Eating Mushrooms May Ease Depression, Early-stage research suggests that the psilocybin component found in psychedelic mushrooms may be effective in easing the symptoms of depression. Which has made these mushrooms a hot topic in recent years. However, common mushrooms—yes, the kind you can buy at the grocery store—might also have advantages for improving mental health.
In the Journal of Affective Disorders, new research from Penn State College of Medicine to support this claim was released. Here is what they currently know.
The Study in Detail
The Penn State researchers discovered that persons who ate mushrooms had decreased risks of developing depression using data on food And mental health gathered from more than 24,000 American adults between 2005 and 2016.
White women without Hispanic heritage who attended college were more likely to eat mushrooms. It should be mentioned that the survey’s respondents were non-Hispanic white persons in the majority (66 percent), with an average age of 45.
After taking into consideration self-reported illnesses, important risk factors, and socioeconomic and nutritional characteristics, the researchers found a statistically significant relationship between eating mushrooms and having a lower risk of developing depression. The relatively large intake of mushrooms, they added, did not appear to offer any additional benefits.
Mushrooms are a good source of fiber, vitamin B, vitamin D, potassium, and a number of antioxidants. We are aware that each of these nutrients contributes to greater emotional stability and mental health.
In supplementary research, the team investigated whether substituting a daily portion of mushrooms for red or processed meat could lower the chance of developing depression. In the end, they failed to link this dietary change to a decreased risk of depression.
The author of This is Your Brain on Food and a nutritional psychiatrist with Harvard training. Uma Naidoo, MD, thinks the study will spur more investigation into the relationship between mushroom consumption and mental health. She also draws attention to the difficulties in conducting nutrition research, particularly when using self-reported data to determine dietary memory, as was done in this study.
According to Dr. Naidoo, “A well-controlled randomized experiment would allow us to place more weight on using mushrooms as a means of improving mental health.” But th is study is undoubtedly a place to start if you want to comprehend this relationship better.
What’s So Special About Mushrooms?
According to John Richie, a professor of pharmacology and public health sciences at Penn State, it might come down to the antioxidant ergothioneine. He says, “This is a special amino acid with strong antioxidant characteristics. This necessary antioxidant cannot be produced by humans, hence it must only be received through dietary sources. The main dietary source of ergothioneine is mushrooms.
According to the researchers, high amounts of ergothioneine may minimize the danger of oxidative stress, which may also lessen the signs and symptoms of depression.
This study extends the list of potential health advantages of eating mushrooms.
According to an analysis published in 2021′s Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. There are over 2,000 types of edible mushrooms. The white button mushroom is the one that Americans eat the most frequently. The Penn State study, however, was unable to determine which kind of mushrooms have the best chances of preventing depression. This is a significant query, Richie says. The study does, however, add to the increasing list of potential health advantages of eating mushrooms.
According to Dr. Naidoo, mushrooms are increasingly being utilized in teas, elixirs, coffees, and even skin care products. They have become a hot topic in the world of medical foods.
According to Dr. Naidoo, mushrooms are a good source of fiber, vitamin B, vitamin D, potassium, and a number of antioxidants. “We know that each of these nutrients helps to promote better emotional and mental health.”
According to Dr. Naidoo, antioxidants in particular aid the brain’s defense against the negative consequences of oxidative stress, which can impair performance and worsen mood.
Mushroom Varieties and Mental Health
Dr. Naidoo lists several of the legal mushrooms that we can consume that have demonstrated significant benefits for mental health.
For instance, the shiitake mushroom. A robust edible mushroom has almost all of the amino acids necessary for normal cellular activity, structure, and brain function.
Potassium is a crucial mineral that aids in maintaining energy levels and preventing brain fog. And portobello mushrooms are notably high in this mineral.
Ergothioneine, an antioxidant that has been associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline and depression, is naturally abundant in porcini mushrooms.
Reishi is a type of fungus that is adaptogenic (meaning it aids the body in coping with various stressors). High in beta-glucans and ganoderic acids. And has been shown to lessen the signs and symptoms of both fatigue and depression.
Last but not least, the lion’s mane is a medicinal mushroom with potent benefits for the neurological system and mental health. It has been demonstrated to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, improve memory, and improve general mental performance.
What This Means For You
If you enjoy mushrooms, you may add them to many different dishes, including spaghetti and stir-fries. And don’t worry if you don’t like the way they taste. Mushroom teas, elixirs (to mix in beverages), coffees, and supplements still provide advantages. Just be sure to speak with your doctor before incorporating any new supplements or medications into your regimen.