Eating more than two portions of mushrooms a week could help stave off cognitive decline, scientists in Asia have claimed.
Researchers at the National University of Singapore said their six-year study shows that seniors who eat more than three quarters of a cup (about 150 grams) of fungi weekly are 50% less likely to have mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
People with MCI often experience memory loss alongside a decline in language abilities, attention span and visuospatial capacity.
“This correlation is surprising and encouraging,” assistant professor Feng Lei, the study’s lead author, said.
“It seems that a commonly available single ingredient could have a dramatic effect on cognitive decline.”
The research also showed that even a small portion of mushrooms every week could still be beneficial for cognitive strength.
More than 600 seniors (aged over 60) took part in the study.
The mushrooms referenced in the research were golden, oyster, shiitake, white button, canned and dried.
Almost all mushrooms are likely to have the same effect, the scientists said.
“People with MCI are still able to carry out their normal daily activities,” Meng added.
“So, what we had to determine in this study is whether these seniors had poorer performances on standard neuropsychologist tests than other people of the same age and education background.
“Neuropsychological tests are specifically designed tasks that can measure the various aspects of a person’s cognitive abilities. Some of the tests we used in this study were adopted from a commonly used IQ test known as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale.”