Health experts have told us for years that eating “a healthy diet” can keep your brain strong as you age.
But what exactly does “healthy diet” mean? Does it mean you should be vegan? Or eat all organic foods? Be on a low-carb diet?
The term “healthy diet” is so vague that it’s almost meaningless.
We’d like to know exactly which foods promote mental sharpness and protect against dementia.
Now, a major study may have identified the single healthiest food for your brain.
Scientists from the National University of Singapore conducted a six-year study. They looked at more than 600 subjects over the age of 60.[i]
“A Dramatic Effect on Cognitive Decline”
The research team found that seniors who ate at least two servings of mushrooms a week cut their odds of having mild cognitive impairment (MCI) by 52%.
The scientists defined a serving as three-quarters of a cup of cooked mushrooms. Smaller portions were also beneficial. Subjects who ate one to two portion of mushrooms a week had 43% reduced risk of MCI.
MCI is a common form of age-related mental decline. Most of us have some level of forgetfulness that increases with age. MCI is worse than that, but not as bad as the serious memory loss associated with dementia.[ii]
MCI may involve problems with language and attention. It may affect your ability to get around and navigate your way through spaces.
Assistant Professor Lei Feng was lead author of the study. He said the findings were surprising and encouraging. Because “a commonly available single ingredient could have a dramatic effect on cognitive decline.”[iii]
The researchers believe that the compound ergothioneine (ET) is what reduces MCI. ET is found in all varieties of mushrooms.
Dr. Irwin Cheah was a member of the research team. He explained that “ET is a unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which humans are unable to synthesize…But it can be obtained from dietary sources, including mushrooms.”
There are also other compounds in mushrooms that inhibit the production of beta-amyloid. This protein is a likely cause of Alzheimer’s.
3 Types of Mushrooms That Protect Your Brain
Mushrooms with the highest ergothioneine content are:[iv]
- King oyster
Of less exotic mushrooms, portabellas, criminis, and white buttons are the richest in ergothioneine.
If you are not a fan of mushrooms, ergothioneine supplements are an alternative. They are widely available from online retailers and health food stores. They are sometimes sold under the name “L- ergothioneine.”
Eating mushrooms or taking ergothioneine supplements may be one of the best things you can do to protect your brain as you get older.
Editor’s Note: Discover how to strengthen your natural defense against memory decline and Alzheimer’s. One woman who tried it said: “I could actually feel my brain healing.” Get all the details in our monthly journal Independent Healing HERE.