Eat mushrooms to fight dementia:
Eat mushrooms to fight dementia: Superfood could stop disease by boosting nerves in brain
EATING plenty of mushrooms could help stave off dementia, according to new research.
PUBLISHED: 06:59, Thu, Jan 26, 2017 | UPDATED: 08:34, Thu, Jan 26, 2017
Researchers believe mushrooms contain chemicals that can boost nerves in the brain
The humble fungi contain chemicals that boost nerves in the brain by preventing inflammation.
A study of eleven types of mushrooms – some already used for medicinal purposes – found they increased grey matter by raising production of a chemical called NGF (nerve growth factor (NGF).
The findings published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, suggest mushrooms are a potential ‘superfood’ which could reduce or delay development of dementia.
Researchers reviewed the scientific evidence with regard to their anti-Alzheimer’s effects and found “they may fulfill a preventive function against the development of Alzheimer’s disease.”
Professor Vikineswary Sabaratnam, of Malaya University in Kuala Lumpur, said: “Regular consumption of the mushrooms may reduce or delay development of age-related neuro-degeneration.
“However, extensive animal and human clinical trials are warranted, which may then lead to designing functional food or novel therapeutic drugs to prevent or mitigate the effects of neuro-degenerative diseases.”
Findings state that the fungi is a potential superfood which could reduce or delay dementia
It’s very likely a dietary intake of mushroom or mushroom-based extracts might have beneficial effects on human health and improve brain function.
The researchers said experiments on rodents and humans had found a “number of edible mushrooms” have been shown to contain rare and exotic compounds that are good for the brain.
One H. erinaceus – commonly known as the lion’s mane mushroom – was found to improve mild cognitive imp[airment – a form of memory loss that can lead to dementia in 50 to 80 year-olds.
Another D. indusiata – dubbed ‘Queen of the Mushrooms’ – increased NGF in rats’ neurons while C. militaris – or the ‘caterpillar fungus’ – improved lab rodents’ memory for getting round a water maze.
Experiments have shown edible mushrooms containing exotic compounds that are good for the brain
Prof Sabaratnam said it was estimated the global medical cost for dementia was USD 604 billion in 2013 – about one per cent of the world gross domestic product.
Current drug therapy for neuro-degenerative diseases is ineffective with many side effects – and it only provides a short-term delay in progression.
Prof Sabaratnam said: “An alternative approach to mitigating such diseases is by using complementary health approaches – such as dietary supplementations and functional foods.
Further research suggests eating plenty of mushrooms can also help build up the immune system
“Functional food is food that has a potentially positive effect on health beyond its basic nutrition.
“Examples of functional food are oatmeal, for its high soluble fibre that can help lower cholesterol levels, and orange juice fortified with calcium for bone health.
“In general, functional food is considered to offer additional benefits that may reduce the risk of disease or promote optimal health.
“Turmeric, green tea, and gingko are examples of functional foods that demonstrate therapeutic effects on brain by exerting neuro-protective and antioxidant effects.
“Mushrooms might have the potential to be functional foods with neuro-protective and cognitive benefits.
“Mushrooms contain diverse yet exclusive bioactive compounds that are not found in plants.
“It’s very likely a dietary intake of mushroom or mushroom-based extracts might have beneficial effects on human health and improve brain function.”
Research suggests eating plenty of mushrooms helps build up the immune system and fend off bugs.
They are rich in niacin which helps the body’s tissues and toxin disposal and potassium – needed to help prevent raised blood pressure.
Mushrooms are also high in antioxidants, B vitamins and other minerals such as selenium, iron and copper.
Low in calories, mushrooms can also be counted as part of the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
Journal editor Dr Sampath Parthasarathy, of Central Florida University, said: “In contrast to the body of literature on food ingredients that may benefit cardiometabolic diseases and cancer, very few studies have focused on food that may benefit neuro-degenerative diseases.”