A new study finds that the consumption of mushrooms can reduce the risk of depression or bring a preventive effect against depression. Since mushrooms are a good source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, it was already proven for their multiple medical properties including cancer prevention.
Research: Mushrooms Can Lessen Depression Risk
The latest study reports on mushrooms have appeared in the Journal of Affective Disorders suggesting that adding mushrooms to diets can be beneficial for physical as well as mental health.
According to the lead researcher, Djibril Ba, research data management specialist at the Penn State College of Medicine, Mushrooms are dietary sources that have the highest amounts of ergothioneine, an amino acid that also has anti-inflammatory properties. So, the risk of oxidative stress, as well as the symptoms of depression, also get reduced by this.
Dr. Ba further stated that the most consumed variety of mushrooms in the U.S is the white button mushroom, which also has higher amounts of potassium in it. As previous studies have found that potassium is an essential mineral linked to lower anxiety levels, consuming them can also bring similar effects to the body.
The study was based on the data on diet and mental health diagnoses held on 24,000 adults and more in the U.S. Among these adults, those who consumed more mushrooms had developed a reduced risk of depression.
The research shows correlation rather than causation. But still, the link should not be ignored and seems like it is caused by a specific property of mushrooms which is higher and found by the study authors.
However, the reports didn’t clarify whether the reduced risk is related to everyday consumption by those who already struggle with the condition. To address this question, Dr. Ba and his group of researchers have tried replacing processed and red meats with mushrooms. Nevertheless, they failed to see any significant results in reducing depression symptoms. This indicates that it can take more time for mushrooms to enhance mental health. Or else, mushrooms only serve more as a prevention tool rather than a treatment option.
According to Dr. Ba, it is necessary to collect more data on the same by conducting more research among a greater number of volunteers. This can help to see if a higher consumption can bring any difference.
At the same time, previous studies have shown that the compound ergothioneine found in mushrooms is linked to a list of potential health advantages. As an instance, Biological Research for Nursing has published a study suggesting the benefits of this particular amino acid in managing fibromyalgia pain, depression, and fatigue in women. This way, ergothioneine is proven to be beneficial against the severity of symptoms.
Researchers also suggest that ergothioneine is commonly high among mushroom varieties, especially in oyster mushrooms. Other foods which contain the same compound are liver, kidney, black and red beans, and oat bran. So adding these food varieties to the diet can bring the same impact.
Since mushrooms also have higher levels of fiber it can also contribute to mental health rather than supporting digestion. Since emotional well-being is associated with digestion, consuming enough mushrooms can work in that way too.