Eating mushrooms may decrease depression symptoms, study says

Depression has been a source of great concern, especially during the course of the pandemic. But do you know what can prove to be a true ally in this uphill battle? Mushrooms. It turns out that a Penn State College of Medicine study reveals that these foods can benefit someone’s mental health, and that people who ate mushrooms were less likely to suffer from depression.

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Researchers used data on diet and mental health collected from more than 20 one thousand US adults among 1024 and 2016, and found that mushrooms contain ergothionein, an antioxidant that can protect against damage to the cells and tissues of the body. Previous studies have shown that antioxidants help prevent various mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression.

The study authors claim that mushrooms are the major dietary source of ergothionein. Having high levels of this substance can lower your risk of stress, which can also reduce symptoms of depression. The researchers found a significant association between mushroom consumption and less likelihood of depression after taking into account socio-demographic data, key risk factors, medications, and other dietary factors. They said, however, that there was no clear additional benefit from the relatively high consumption of mushrooms.

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The team even conducted a secondary analysis to see if the risk of depression could be reduced by substituting a portion of red or processed meat for a portion of mushrooms every day. However, the results show that this substitution was not associated with lower chances of depression. The full study can be accessed here.

Source: Science Blog

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