According to the study conducted, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the elderly who consume more than two servings of mushrooms a week have a 50% less chance of suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI – Mild Cognitive Impairment). These disorders characterize the transition between cognitive, physiological decline to aging, and Alzheimer's dementia. The symptoms that accompany them are: memory loss, forgetfulness and deficits in language or visual-spatial skills.
The team of dr. Lei Feng made an observation on a group of about 600 Chinese elderly residents of Singapore, measuring the physical parameters and signs of MCI for a full 6 years. The conclusion that emerges is that eating half a plate of mushrooms cooked a week in addition to normal eating habits, so around 300 grams, allows a halving of the risk of cognitive decline.
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Specifically, the research used a heterogeneous group of fungi, including Enokitake, or Flammulina velutipes, Pleurotus ostreatus, orecchione or oyster mushroom, Lentinula edodes, Agaricus bisporus or more commonly champignon, dried mushrooms and canned mushrooms .
These specimens contain theergothioneine, an amino acid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions. In fact, previous research has shown that the elderly with cognitive decline had a deficiency of this substance.
Humans do not produce this substance, but they can assimilate it through certain foods, in particular in addition to mushrooms, also thanks to beans and bran. The mushrooms, however, also contain other substances that can protect the brain from neuro degeneration, inhibiting the production of beta-amyloid and Tau protein, involved in Alzheimer's disease. These could also be the elements responsible for reducing the risk of contracting the disease. "This correlation is surprising and encouraging. It seems that a single ingredient so easily available could have a dramatic effect on cognitive decline, "said Professor Feng.