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Researchers from the University Park in Pennsylvania discovered mushrooms that may contain high amounts of two antioxidants that can improve health and reduce the effects of aging.In the study, researchers found that mushrooms may have unusually high quantities of ergothioneine and glutathione, two powerful antioxidants.Moreover, the amount of these two antioxidants vary among species of mushrooms.
"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," said Robert Beelman, a professor emeritus of food science and director of the Penn State Center for Plant and Mushroom Products for Health.
When you eat, your body metabolizes food in order to produce energy.During the digestion and metabolism process, free radicals are produced and spread to many parts of the body.Free radicals are oxygen atoms without paired electrons that play an important role in many biological processes, such as helping macrophages kill pathogens.However, the reactivity of these free radicals can damage cells and an excessive amount of free radicals in the body leads to cell death.Free radicals have been associated with cancer because of their potential to damage cells, causing deformation of the cell's DNA.Additionally, free radicals have been linked to aging because of their contribution to many debilitating disorders such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.
Our body solves this problem using antioxidants, chemicals that bind to free radicals and prevent cell damage.Antioxidants such as glutathione, vitamins A, C, and E, minimize the damage from free radicals to reduce the risk of developing cancer and debilitating diseases.That is why we need to replenish our body's antioxidants to prevent health conditions.
"There's a theory — the free radical theory of aging — that's been around for a long time that says when we oxidize our food to produce energy there's a number of free radicals that are produced that are side products of that action and many of these are quite toxic.The body has mechanisms to control most of them, including ergothioneine and glutathione, but eventually enough accrue to cause damage, which has been associated with many of the diseases of aging, like cancer, coronary heart disease and Alzheimer's," said Beelman.
Benefits of Mushrooms Consumption
The researchers reported that the amounts of ergothioneine and glutathione vary by species with the porcini species, a wild mushroom that contains the highest amounts of the two antioxidants among the 13 species they have tested.Boletus edulis or porcini mushroom is a widely distributed in areas of the earth's northern hemisphere, North America, Northern Asia, and Northern Europe.This mushroom is considered a prized ingredient because it is a favorite ingredient in many cuisines.It is mainly served in soups, pasta or risotto.Porcini mushroom has high amounts of vitamins and minerals, proteins, and dietary fiber but, low in fat and digestible carbohydrates.The most common mushroom called white button has less antioxidant level than porcini but more than most food.
The researchers also found out that the quantities of the two antioxidants are connected to each other.If a mushroom has high levels of glutathione, expect high levels of ergothioneine, and vice versa.Beelman stated that future studies may look into the role on how the two antioxidants can decrease the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.Countries in Europe, such as France and Italy, have fewer cases of neurodegenerative disease unlike with the US, and this is because of higher amounts of the two antioxidants in their diet, according to Beelman.
Side Effects of Too Much Mushroom
Eating mushroom is generally safe as long as you do not consume the toxic varieties, such as the Amanita phalloides or death cap and the Galerina marginata or autumn skullcap.However, too much consumption of mushrooms can lead to the excessive amount of certain nutrients in your body, enough to cause health problems.
1.Iron can be obtained from mushrooms and some mushroom species like the morels provide 14 grams of iron.According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, the maximum iron intake for adults is 45g grams per day.If you eat too many morels, your body may suffer from upset gastrointestinal tract and iron accumulation in soft tissues.
2.Phosphorus is an important mineral for the bones and cellular proteins.A person needs 700mg of phosphorus to support the requirement of cells, tissues, and organs of the body.Morels can also provide phosphorus of about 200 milligrams for every 4 ounces of the mushroom.Excessive amounts of phosphorus can lead to high phosphate levels in your blood and calcium deposits in the organs.
3.Zinc does many processes for the body, such as maintaining the integrity of cell membranes and proteins and helping the body to absorb vitamin A and folate.Our body needs 40 milligrams per day in order to perform these actions.High levels of zinc in the body can lead to short-term gastrointestinal problems and zinc-induced copper deficiency.