(Natural News) Mushrooms have been used in a variety of ways for many centuries, from food and medicine to religious rituals and even poison. In fact, one mushroom fungus, Penicillium, was used to develop the antibiotic penicillin that saves thousands of lives every year and turned the medical world on its head.
People who can get past the notion of eating a fungus are rewarded with a rich, earthy flavor that is hard to imitate, and now it appears that mushrooms are good for a lot more than just enhancing your favorite chicken and pasta dishes.
New research has shown that eating mushrooms could be the key to the nation’s growing dementia epidemic. The study, which was published last month in the Journal of Medicinal Food, found that 11 different types of fungi boosted gray matter in the brain by increasing the production of nerve growth factor.
This means that a diet rich in mushrooms could well have a preventive effect when it comes to Alzheimer’s. While the researchers caution that further human clinical trials are needed, the news is very promising. Mushrooms are readily available, they’re affordable, and they do not have side effects, which means it could be quite easy for people looking to avoid dementia to stack the odds in their favor.
Several types of edible mushrooms have been found to contain compounds that are beneficial for the brain. For example, the “Lion’s Mane” mushroom, H. erinaceus, can help people who have mild cognitive impairment, which is a precursor to dementia among people over the age of 50.
Reishi mushrooms have also been found to boost cognitive function, and their benefits do not stop there. They have enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years thanks to their reported health benefits. Studies have shown that they can prevent the proliferation and growth of tumors while boosting immunity and improving heart health.
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Meanwhile, the cordyceps mushroom’s anti-inflammatory properties can stave off the death of neuronal cells, thereby preventing memory loss. This mushroom has also been shown to be useful as a cancer treatment thanks to its ability to stunt the growth and division of cancer cells. Long touted as a tonic for many types of illness by traditional healers in Tibet, this curious-looking fungus has also been found to help reduce the negative effects that stress can bring on the body and brain.
One of the researchers in the latest study, Professor Vikineswary Sabaratnam of Kuala Lumpur’s University of Malaya, said that mushrooms could turn out to be functional foods that have benefits for health that extend far beyond their basic nutritional value because of their cognitive and neuro-protective qualities.
“Mushrooms contain diverse yet exclusive bio-active compounds that are not found in plants. It’s very likely a dietary intake of mushroom or mushroom-based extracts might have beneficial effects on human health and improve brain function,” he stated.
This is further evidence of the incredible healing powers of nature, many of which Big Pharma and other vested parties do their best to ensure that we never hear about. For all of nature’s powerful remedies that we already know about, there are likely countless more just waiting to be untapped.
While conventional medicines can and do save lives, they often have a number of side effects. When something that the earth provides can be used to treat or prevent a disease, the right choice is clear, and mushrooms could well prove to serve that function for the 13.8 million Americans who are projected to have Alzheimer’s disease by the year 2050.