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Benefits of Mushrooms for Depression

Eating more fungi may boost your mood.

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Dish of pasta and mushrooms for depression

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.

See also: Recipe for Health: Mushroom-Quinoa Curry Burgers


Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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