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Mushroom Consumption May Lower Risk of Depression

edible mushroom

Mushroom Consumption May Lower Risk of Depression


Many people know mushrooms to be very healthy food. But few know that it also promotes better mental health.

New research conducted by Penn State College of Medicine has revealed that people who consume mushrooms have lower rates of depression.

Past studies have shown that antioxidants can help prevent some mental disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Antioxidants characteristically protect against tissue and cell damage.

And according to the authors of this study, mushrooms contain ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant. But that's not all.

According to the lead author Djibril Ba, mushrooms are the highest dietary source of ergothioneine. "Having high levels of this may lower the risk of oxidative stress, which could also reduce the symptoms of depression," he said.


Other Notable Findings from the Research

The average age of the participants was 45, with 66% being non-Hispanic whites. This was to help eliminate any physiological, demographic, or socioeconomic factors that may influence the results. The study discovered a significant relationship between mushroom consumption and lower rates of depression. However, a higher intake of these bulbous superfoods did not lead to any further benefits.

Also, the researchers tried to replace mushrooms with red or processed meat to see if there was any effect. The results showed that the meat didn't reduce the risks of depression to any extent. Clearly, the mushroom was key.

The mental health benefits of mushrooms are not far-fetched. It's all in its constituents. In addition to ergothioneine, white button mushrooms also contain potassium, believed to help with anxiety. White button mushrooms are the most commonly consumed species in the US.

Other less known species, such as the Hericium Erinaceus (Lion's Mane), could help prevent neuropsychiatric disorders like depression. It works by stimulating the expression of neurotrophic factors such as nerve growth factor synthesis.

The study also discovered that college-educated, non-Hispanic white women were the largest consumers of mushrooms.

This study has added one more benefit to the growing list of mushroom health benefits. Without a doubt, this is one treat you want to consider adding to your diet if you experience depression or anxiety symptoms.


The Bottom Line

Although there have been past studies examining mushroom consumption associated with depression, they were clinical trials, which were pretty limited with below 100 participants. This new study aims to show the importance of mushroom consumption in mitigating depression and other mental health conditions on a larger scale.

However, the research also has some limitations, as it did not discuss the type or specie of mushrooms in relation to their benefits. Nevertheless, this will be a good position for future researchers to take off from.

Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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