Mushroom lovers, rejoice! A diet with mushrooms appears to offer you a lower risk of developing depression and other mental illness.
Advantages of a Diet with Mushrooms:
Penn State scientists evaluated data collected between 2005 and 2016 on 24,000 American adults (Journal of Affective Disorders, Nov. 2021). They used detailed dietary records and information on the participants’ mental health status. Mushrooms are an excellent source of an amino acid called ergothioneine that has strong antioxidant activity. Scientists suspect that this compound might help explain some benefits of a diet with mushrooms.
The analysis revealed that people who ate mushrooms frequently were less likely to be diagnosed with depression. Statistical adjustments for risk factors such as demographics and medication use did not weaken the association. The study highlights the potential benefit of eating more mushrooms.
These are ordinary edible mushrooms of the sort you might put on your pizza or throw into a quick stir-fried dish. Previous research has focused on medicinal mushrooms against depression (Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, 2020). Some studies have found that lion’s mane mushroom can ease depression. However, many groceries do not carry Hericium erinaceus. If you find lion’s mane at the farmers’ market, you might want to try some (International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Dec. 25, 2019).
In addition, some studies have identified psilocybin from magic mushrooms as having antidepressant activity. However, this compound calls for a carefully designed therapeutic setting and process. You would not want to add magic mushrooms to your diet.