Scientists from Pennsylvania State University recently conducted an experiment, published in Food Chemistry, to identify the anti-aging properties in mushrooms.
After taking a close look at 13 mushroom species, scientists discovered mushrooms may contain unusually high amounts of two antioxidants, ergothioneine and glutathione, linked with fighting aging.
When the body uses food to produce energy, it produces free radicals, atoms and electrons that can cause damage to cells, proteins and DNA. This process causes oxidative stress.
Replenishing antioxidants, however, may help prevent oxidative stress, which is often linked with diseases of aging, like cancer, coronary heart disease and Alzheimer's.
"What we found is that, without a doubt, mushrooms are highest dietary source of these two antioxidants taken together, and that some types are really packed with both of them," Robert Beelman, lead researcher said in a statement.
Researchers noted the amounts of ergothioneine and glutathione in mushrooms vary by species and that cooking them does not affect the compound.
Analysts now hope to focus their research on these antioxidants to determine how they could decrease the likelihood of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.
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