A recent study reports mushrooms to contain antioxidants that can work to alleviate the signs of aging. The researchers from Penn State conducted the respective research. They found that mushrooms and their antioxidant content can improve the well-being of an organism. In addition, they mitigate the effects of aging.
Mushrooms contain high levels of antioxidants. Two of which are;
- Ergothioneine (ERGO)
- Glutathione (GSH)
Robert Beelman, from the Penn State Center for Plant and Mushroom Products for Health, declares mushrooms the highest dietary source for the antioxidants combined. However, the amount of these antioxidants varies between different species of mushrooms.
The energy that we impart from our daily food also results in oxidative stress. It elevates free radicals, unstable molecules that can harm the corporal cells and deteriorate them with time. This may result in aging or diseases too. A fresh supply of antioxidants may help you to get rid of this oxidative stress.
The free radical theory of aging validates the above mentioned facts. It states that the food we eat, when oxidizes produces both energy and free radicals. These free radicals are side products of the metabolic reactions and many of these are toxic in nature. When accumulated in high amounts these free radicals may cause diseases like cancer, coronary heart disease, and Alzheimer’s etc. The body controls these free radicals via different mechanisms including ergothioneine and glutathione.
Different species of mushrooms constitute different amounts of ERGO and GSH. For example, out of the 13 species that were tested by the researchers, a wild variety of mushrooms i.e. the porcini species contain the highest elevation of the two respective compounds. While other mushrooms like the white button have a lesser amount of the antioxidants as compared to porcini mushrooms.
The researchers also revealed that the amount of ERGO and GSH are correlative. The mushrooms with a high GSH content will have a high ERGO content as well. Moreover, these antioxidants are heat stable and aren’t lost when the mushrooms are cooked.
GSH is an intercellular antioxidant. It has a potent capacity of keeping the immune system to function in a sound manner. Moreover, it counteracts the effects of carcinogens and toxins. A significant supply of GSH to the tissues not only improves the well-being of an individual but also prevents many diseases and promotes a healthy development of cells.
Research carried out on ERGO connects it to maintain the levels of glutathione. It also interacts with other cellular defense systems. Recent studies based upon animals associate ERGO consumption to lowering the risks of cognitive decline.
Future studies regarding the respective topic may also consider the benefits of ERGO and GSH in lowering the chances of developing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Aside from providing antioxidants, mushrooms also increase immunity. Researchers from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences reveal that a regular intake of mushrooms can reduce inflammation and enhance the body’s immune system. Shiitake mushrooms that are native to Asia were considered of great importance in this regard.