Why mushrooms are the star food to reduce depression

According to scientists, several substances are involved in the antidepressant benefits of mushrooms: vitamin B12, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory amino acids.

Photo: Photo Razieh Bakhtom / Unsplash

Medicinal foods take on a more relevant role every day. Just last spring, mushrooms came to the attention of science and medicine for their potential role in preventing cancer. In the last few months everyone has been talking about his powerful boost in emotional health. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, participants who ate the most mushrooms had a 43% lower risk of developing depression in that time period compared to people who didn’t eat mushrooms at all.

In the study, the researchers examined data from 24,000 American adults, tracking your eating habits and mental health changes for 11 years. Their main finding was quite relevant and reflects a high percentage of effectiveness of mushrooms as antidepressants. According to scientists, the main reason is likely related to the many bioactive compounds that mushrooms have in abundance, including: vitamin B12, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory amino acidss. According to statements by principal investigator Djibril Ba, a research data management specialist at Penn State School of Medicine; In the past, all of these elements have been associated with a lower risk of developing depression. Most relevant of all, having high levels of these compounds has the power to reduce the risk of oxidative stress, and this in turn can reduce the symptoms of depression.

In recent months, much has been said about oxidative stress and its devastating effects on health. It is an imbalance in the body that occurs when the body produces too much free radicals, which cause inflammation, and the body does not have enough antioxidants to counteract them. It is because of that eating foods high in antioxidants, It is a magnificent health booster because it allows us to reduce oxidative stress levels.

The truth is that the data does not lie, according to the American Anxiety and Depression Association: 18% of the population suffers from some type of anxiety disorder and 6.7% of the US population over the age of 18 has been diagnosed with clinical depression. Therefore, it is about a public health problem that has been increasing over the years, especially in 2020 derived from the Covid-19 pandemic with the ravages of uncertainty and confinement. Based on this, new recommendations on foods that shine for their antidepressant, calming and relaxing properties come to light every day.

According to the study findings, fungi appear to have a antidepressant effect preventively. One of the main challenges was to discover that the effects of eating mushrooms are just as effective when you already suffer from depression. Therefore, as part of the study, Ba and his colleagues tried to determine the scope of that strategy by asking several participants with depression to replace red or processed meat with mushrooms in numerous meals. However, they did not find a noticeable reduction in symptoms of depression, so fungi may be more of a prevention tactic than a complementary treatment approach.

One of the great qualities that mushrooms offer to fight depression is their high content of an amino acid called ergothionein. It is a powerful substance that is characterized by its super antioxidant and super anti-inflammatory properties, which help combat oxidative stress. Although mushrooms are the star food in ergothionein content (especially oyster mushrooms), there are other wonderful sources such as liver, kidneys, black beans and oat bran. It is worth mentioning that this substance can only be obtained through food, therefore integrating the best sources is an effective strategy to prevent oxidative stress and reduce the risk of depression.

Complementary to it it is essential to follow a healthy lifestyle: do physical activity, enjoy nature, establish a positive routine, ensure a good rest and bet on a natural diet. It’s essential avoid ultra-processed foods and fast foodsIt is well known that not only are they high in calories, they are usually very sugary, rich in saturated fat and other substances, which increase inflammation and deteriorate mental and emotional health.

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