Mushrooms help ward off dementia
08/03/2021 / By Joanne Washburn / Comments
Mushrooms help ward off dementia

Here’s one good reason to add mushrooms to your dinner plate: they may help stave off dementia.

That’s according to a review that found that certain edible mushrooms contained potent compounds capable of protecting the brain from inflammation, which contributes to dementia. Dementia isn’t a specific brain disorder but a term for symptoms caused by brain disorders that affect memory and thinking.

The review also found that some of the potent compounds in mushrooms boosted the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), which is important for the survival and maintenance of certain brain cells.

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Overall, the findings of the review suggest that eating mushrooms as part of your daily diet may delay the onset of age-related cognitive decline and brain disorders marked by symptoms of dementia.

Compounds in mushrooms can help prevent dementia

One of the mushrooms noted for its potential to ward off dementia is lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus), a popular culinary mushroom across Asia. In one of the studies included in the review, lion’s mane was shown to improve mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI refers to the stage between normal age-related memory problems and dementia.

The active compounds in lion’s mane are hericenones and erinacines. Both compounds are capable of stimulating the production of NGF.

The researchers of the review also noted the anti-inflammatory properties of cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis), a parasitic fungus that lives on certain caterpillars in the mountainous regions of China. High levels of inflammation are associated with memory problems and other symptoms of dementia.

Meanwhile, reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum), a widely used medicinal mushroom in many Asian countries, were found to improve cognitive function. Also commonly known as “lingzhi,” reishi mushrooms are also traditionally used to treat various health problems, such as low blood pressure and insomnia.

There are many potent compounds present in reishi mushrooms, including triterpinoids and sterols. Many test tube and animal studies have demonstrated that these compounds have protective effects on the brain.

Overall, the review indicates that mushrooms show tremendous potential as functional foods with cognitive benefits.

How to cook mushrooms

Mushrooms have an earthy, umami flavor that resembles gamey meat in many ways. They add a distinct flavor to meals, but they can be easily seasoned and taken in another direction.

Here are six ways you can cook mushrooms:

  1. Saute mushrooms. Saute mushrooms in butter and garlic for a simple yet tasty side dish. You can take it up a notch by using olive oil and topping the mushrooms with a squeeze of lemon juice and some parsley.
  2. Use mushrooms in place of meat. Mushrooms have a distinct, almost meaty flavor, which is why they are a popular meat substitute among vegans and vegetarians. Make a meatless burger by using large portobello mushrooms in place of beef patties.
  3. Add mushrooms to soups. Mushrooms make great additions to hearty, nourishing soups. You can also throw them into the slow cooker with some broth and herbs for a delicious dinner stew.
  4. Stuff mushrooms with beans or vegetables. Make filling mushroom bites by stuffing large mushrooms with cooked beans, grains or vegetables. You can also stuff them with meat and cheese for an indulgent appetizer.
  5. Grill mushrooms. Skewer chunks of mushrooms and grill them for an easy appetizer on your next cookout. You can also serve them with bread or as a side dish for grilled meats or fish.
  6. Bake mushrooms into bread. Add mushroom slices to your bread batter to make a hearty side dish for your salad or soup.

Certain mushrooms contain potent compounds that may help stave off dementia. Incorporate mushrooms into your daily routine to keep your mind sharp and your brain healthy as you age.

Sources:

NYPost.com

OpenVentio.org[PDF]

TasteOfHome.com

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