Porcini Mushrooms May Help Keep You Young

Study finds that mushrooms in general are packed with 2 antioxidants
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2017 10:29 AM CST
Porcini Mushrooms May Help Keep You Young
Three specimens of porcini mushrooms in Utah.   (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Al Hartmann)

Hoping to age gracefully? You might consider tossing some porcini mushrooms in the shopping cart. A new study out of Penn State finds that mushrooms in general contain high levels of antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione, and some varieties are more potent than others. "What we found is that, without a doubt, mushrooms are [the] highest dietary source of these two antioxidants taken together, and that some types are really packed with both of them," Robert Beelman says in a release. The wild porcini mushroom popular in Italy, for example, had "by far" the highest amounts of any mushroom tested. But though white button mushrooms had the least, they still had more than most other foods, reports Newsweek.

And there's no need to eat mushrooms raw, because cooking doesn't seem to affect the compounds. So what makes ergothioneine and glutathione so helpful? Research is ongoing, but it's believed they protect against atoms known as free radicals, which damage or age the body over time, per New Atlas. Beelman even floats the provocative stat that countries such as Italy and France, where people typically eat the equivalent of 5 button mushrooms a day more than Americans, have lower rates of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. He cautions that it's way too early to draw any firm conclusions from that, but says researchers will explore the topic. (Glutathione might also lighten skin.)

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