Americans—both young and old—are suffering from anxiety and depression more than ever before.
And while the pandemic has been a recent factor, we can’t solely blame this on COVID-19.
The fact is, we’ve been living in uncertain times for a while now. And polls show that our mental health continues to suffer.
(Perhaps you’ve noticed a common theme in our discussions this week?)
Of course, anxiety and depression might leave you feeling sad, worried, and down. Or you might feel tired, unmotivated, or uninterested in activities you used to enjoy.
No matter how the symptoms appear, they often become a heavy burden.
The good news is, there’s one health food hiding in the produce aisle that can help diminish these feelings—and let your mental health SOAR…
More mushrooms, better mood
This latest analysis is one of the first big studies to link general mushroom consumption to mental health. In short, it found that people who eat more mushrooms suffer less depression.
(And no, I’m not talking about the “magic” kind, either. This study looked at the same mushrooms you’ll find at your local grocery store or farmer’s market.)
This study included diet and mental health data from more than 24,000 participants from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Subjects reported on how many mushrooms they had eaten the two previous days. Researchers then assessed depression levels using a standardized questionnaire.
The results showed a clear link between mushroom consumption and lower odds of depression. And this link was independent of other factors—like social and economic status, lifestyle, self-reported health problems, and medication use—to boot.
A foil for oxidative stress
This study didn’t look at specific mushrooms and their specific effects. But other studies have…
White button mushrooms, for example, are packed with potassium, which may help relieve anxiety. Meanwhile, lion’s mane mushrooms are anti-inflammatory and linked with brain health—both of which can play a role in combatting depression.
But these are just a couple of examples. There are many varieties of edible mushrooms, all of which offer an array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You really can’t go wrong.
Of course, researchers have now turned their focus on one antioxidant amino acid in particular: ergothioneine.
Animal research suggests this amino acid can cross the blood brain barrier. It also plays a role in gut health. (If you’re a regular reader, then you already know that what’s good for your gut is good for your brain and your mood.)
Plus, researchers believe it lowers oxidative stress, which in turn boosts your mood, among other benefits. (In fact, you may recall previous research I’ve shared showing that fungi can help to prevent prostate cancer and cognitive decline, too.)
Humans can only get ergothioneine through diet. The good news? Mushrooms are the most abundant source.
So, if you don’t already cook with mushrooms, now’s the time to start. I have plenty of healthy recipes included in my A-List Diet book—and you can count on a starring role in an upcoming Cooking With Dr. Fred show, too.
“There’s Something About Eating Mushrooms That Seems to Lower Depression Risk.” Science Alert, 01/01/2022. (sciencealert.com/scientists-locate-a-link-between-eating-mushrooms-and-a-lower-risk-of-depression)