According to researchers from Penn State, you should be bulking up on fungi to help slow down the aging process. A new study found that mushrooms have extremely high levels of two antioxidants which are known for their anti-aging and health heightening qualities. The research, which was published in Food Chemistry, analyzed the ergothioneine (ERGO) and glutathione (GSH) levels in 13 varieties of mushrooms and found the levels to be exponentially higher than any other vegetable. These foods have loads of anti-aging benefits, too.
So what exactly do these antioxidants do? They help your cells battle oxidative stress, a form of tissue damage which can cause your cells to become damaged and destabilize, which, in turn, causes the body to age. Oxidative stress also plays a significant role in the body’s likelihood to develop Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease.
“Since mushrooms are a ‘ball of fungi’ they contain the highest amount, by far, in the human food chain,” the study’s lead author, Robert Beelman Ph.D., told Men’s Health.“Many other foods contain quite small amounts of ERGO because it gets into the food chain via plants picking it up from fungi in the soil.”
The recommended amount of ERGO you should be consuming on a daily basis is about 3 milligrams, according to Beelman. That’s about five button mushrooms, hardly a handful. Curious about the difference between mushrooms? Here’s how you can tell white, cremini, and portobello mushrooms apart.