Can we use mushrooms for depression? It turns out working crimini, shiitake and other mushrooms into your soups, pasta dishes and meat sauces more often may help you feel better physically and emotionally. The conclusion of a study in the Journal of Affective Disorders—using data on diet and mental health from 24,699 adults—was that mushroom consumption is associated with lower odds of depression, even after considering major risk factors for the condition, sociodemographics, self-reported diseases, medications and other dietary factors.
The researchers from Penn State College of Medicine believe that the high amounts of an amino acid called ergothioneine present in a variety of mushroom types could lower oxidative stress and tissue damage in the brain, which may reduce symptoms of depression. What this research could not determine is the effectiveness of certain types of mushrooms for depression or boosting mood and how much someone needs to eat to experience a benefit.