According to Research, This Surprising Food May Help Lower Your Risk of Depression
Red wine and tea include the heart-healthy epicatechin, while pomegranate has a plethora of antioxidants to provide, like the polyphenol epicatechin gallate found in pomegranate. Many fruits and vegetables include antioxidants that can help slow or stop oxidative cell damage. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can have a huge impact on your health.
In the Journal of Affective Disorders, scientists have discovered a new vegetable (technically, a new fungus) to add to your list of anti-oxidant-rich foods: mushrooms. According to a study from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, people who ate more mushrooms had a lower risk of depression, as measured by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005 to 2016. Mushrooms include an antioxidant that may protect cells and tissues from oxidative stress, according to the researchers.
The amino acid ergothioneine, found in mushrooms, is an anti-inflammatory chemical that humans cannot make, according to main researcher Djibril Ba, Ph.D., M.P.H., in a media release. If you have a lot of this, you’re less likely to suffer from oxidative stress, which can worsen symptoms of depression.”
So, let’s be clear: Mushrooms (or any other food, for that matter) are not a panacea for every ailment imaginable. Talk to your doctor about treatment choices if you’re depressed. If you’re on depression medication, don’t stop taking it until your medical team tells you to. In addition, this study only examined two or fewer days of a 24-hour diet recall (i.e., people vocally recalled what they ate), which is an extremely small portion of the average person’s daily calorie intake. Despite the fact that mushrooms aren’t going to be dubbed a miracle food any time soon, including them in your weekly roundup doesn’t hurt.
And it turns out that eating a lot of mushrooms isn’t necessary to reap these health benefits. The study found no additional benefits from eating more mushrooms or swapping red or processed meat for a portion of mushrooms (although eating fewer of these foods has other health benefits), so simply including mushrooms in your diet may help you reap the benefits of this fungi.
Other nutrients found in some mushrooms may have an impact on mental health as well. In a recent study, high potassium levels in white button mushrooms were related to a lower incidence of depression, making them a popular choice for Americans. (This tasty and simple recipe for stuffed’shrooms is one method to include more potassium in your diet.) Aside from that, potassium is good for your heart since it helps to relax blood vessel walls.
Mushrooms aren’t just good for your mental health; they’re also good for your overall health. The health advantages of mushrooms go far beyond their role in the coziest of fall feasts. They help maintain gastrointestinal health and provide an extra boost of vitamins B and D, just to name a few.
It’s important to note that mushrooms grown in UV light have a higher concentration of vitamin D, so look for those in your local supermarket. With fewer daylight hours and less opportunities to be outside in the fall and winter, eating mushrooms can be especially beneficial. Mushrooms also contain an antioxidant mineral known as selenium, which is uncommon in other foods. Health officials believe selenium may help protect against cancer, heart disease, cognitive loss, and thyroid problems.
As a starting point, we recommend some of our own mushroom-forward recipes like these hearty soups or these wildly popular dinner preparations.