A new research conducted by researchers from Pennsylvania State University shows that mushrooms are „without a doubt” an anti-aging gold mine.
Robert Beelman, professor Emeritus of food science and director of the Penn State Center for Plant and Mushroom Products for Health, spoke about the theory of food and aging. When we oxidize our food, a number of „free radicals” are released. Large quantities prove toxic to the human body. Free radicals are associated with aging diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Antioxidants, while still loosely defined, are indicative of fighting oxidative stress. Oxidative stress stems from those free radicals Beelman specified, which are oxygen atoms with unpaired electrons.
„The body has mechanisms to control most of them, including ergothioneine and glutathione” he states.
Published in the journal Food Chemistry the paper points to the mushroom’s high source of the ergothioneine and glutathione antioxidants which are thought to have anti-aging properties.
By testing 13 species of mushrooms, scientists found both compounds in large quantities. The lowest out of the bunch was the white button mushroom, however, compared to other non-mushrooms foods, it is still a worthy contender for keeping one young. The highest antioxidant levels were found in the wild porcini mushroom.
Foods that are cooked to extreme levels generally lose anti-oxidants yet mushrooms were found to be resistant to heat.
Beelman acknowledges the study is still in preliminary stages but he points to other countries as proof.
„You can see that countries that have more ergothioneine in their diets, countries like France and Italy also have lower incidences of neurodegenerative diseases”
He also notes that people living in the U.S. have lower amounts of ergothioneine in their diet. In turn, this increases their probability of developing Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The difference between the U.S. and the countries specified above is the number of antioxidants in their food. France and Italy have approximately 3 milligrams per day, the equivalent of about five button mushrooms.
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