Eating mushrooms may slow mental decline—study

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SINGAPORE — Eating more mushrooms could help keep mental decline at bay, a new study of more than 600 Singaporeans aged 60 and above has showed.

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) found that participants who ate more than two servings of mushrooms a week – equivalent to 300g or about half a plate – were 57 percent less likely to have mild cognitive impairment compared with those who ate less than one portion a week.

The study was conducted between 2011 and 2017.

Announcing the findings on Tuesday (March 12), Dr Irwin Cheah, a senior research fellow at NUS’ Department of Biochemistry, said this could be because mushrooms contain high levels of a compound known as ergothioneine.

The compound acts as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent, and can protect brain cells from damage, Dr Cheah said.

In a separate 2016 study also involving Dr Cheah , the researcher found that having a deficiency of the compound could be a risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

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