Want to improve your health? Start with mushrooms

Once a highly kept secret, the positive health effects of eating mushrooms are now becoming apparent.

Previously seen as being just tasty, increasing experiments are discovering that a diet with high levels of fungi can result in anti-ageing benefits and a reduced chance of dementia.

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Is it true, can mushrooms really be magic and slow down signs of ageing?

It may feel like every other day we are introduced to a new super food that has been declared to have marvellous effects on our health, yet these declarations may be the real deal.

A research team in the USA at Penn State University have discovered that mushrooms contain high levels of antioxidants, glutathione and ergothioneine, all important in slowing down the bodies ageing system and protecting the body against cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

In France and Italy where there is a high rate of ergothioneine and glutathione in the diet, it has been discovered that there is a lower rate of neurodegenerative diseases than for example, in the USA, where mushrooms are less popular.

The most common varieties eaten in England unfortunately contain no powers able to keep cancer and Alzheimer’s at bay. Yet do not despair with the cute little white button mushrooms or the field mushroom you add to your Sunday fry-up, as these two species of fungi contain important antioxidant sources.

The importance of adding antioxidants into your diet should not be ignored. By incorporating food with a high level of antioxidants into your diet, you can help to protect the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals which are harmful molecules.

Free radicals are often formed as part of a normal body processes, but some are caused when you place dangerous chemicals into your body such as alcohol and tobacco; by adding antioxidants into your body, you can help your cells to defend against these harmful substances.

Along with helping your body to protect itself and fight against free radicals, mushrooms can ward off the more destructive illnesses such as heart disease.

Mushrooms that can help to protect your body against major health risks include the tasty chestnut caps and Porcini.

Found in woodlands across England briefly during the harvesting season in autumn, purchasing Chestnut caps is an easy task; soaking the dried mushrooms in warm water to hydrate them, make sure to keep the leftover water to make a tasty stock.

mushroom risot

For those who are unsure about how to go about eating this new super food, you can begin by adding the deep and rich mushrooms into a thick and creamy risotto, or serving them alongside a juicy steak.

If you would like to give your body a quick health boost, we have a tasty and easy porcini risotto recipe for you to try as a delicious mid-week dish.