New NUS Study Reveals That Mushroom Could Be The Next Brain Superfood Against Mental Decline

Mmm mushrooms.

No, drop the red spotted ones.

And don’t touch the yellow happy ones either.

Kill those before they kill you.

I’m talking about these:

Credit: Tenor

Stir them in soups, simmer them in sauces, fold them over in cheesy french omelettes.

Fry them with vegetables or meat, or even saute them on their own with butter and a sprinkle of salt.

There are so many ways to enjoying mushrooms. And the best part? They’re actually good for your health.

Yessir, for once, food that’s good for you is actually tasty too.

A (Shitty, Non-Rhyming) Ode to Mushrooms

Mushrooms have long had a reputation for being very good for everyone who wants to stay alive and functioning for as long as possible.

Packed with nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants, they still manage to remain low in calories for all you weight watchers.

Kids who like taking sick leaves from school, stay far away since mushrooms have impressive immune system boosting properties.

Really, they’ve earned themselves the superfood status long ago.

But now we have a new finding that elbows them further up into the realm of the Gods.

It Helps With Mental Declination

Between 2011 and 2017, a team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) set out to research mushroom.

And this was what they found:

Participants who ate above 2 servings (about half a plate) of mushrooms per week were 57% less likely to experience mild cognitive impairment, compared with those who ate less than one portion a week.

The Buzzword of this Article: Ergothioneine

(Pronounced er· go· thi· o· ne· ine, so you can say it in your head as you read on.)

According to Dr Irwin Cheah, a senior research fellow at NUS’ Department of Biochemistry, this could be due to the high levels of ergothioneine.

Ergothioneine is a compound which acts as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent which can protect brain cells from damage.

It Cannot Be Faked

Here’s the most interesting thing about this compound.


It can’t be man-made. The compound must be obtained through dietary sources.

Now, for those who hate mushroom, or anything fungi, actually, don’t worry.

Livers, kidneys and beans, including kidney beans, contain ergothioneine.

But on the flip side, you got to eat more of them since they contain lower levels of the compound.

But, hey, if you love livers, kidneys and beans, well, feel free to have an excuse to go wild.


Or you can, you know, learn to like mushrooms.

Another Study

In a separate 2016 study done by the same researcher Dr Cheah, what we know about ergothioneine was reinforced; a deficiency of the compound could be a risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

So basically the more mushrooms you eat, the less your brain rots. The lesser mushrooms you eat, the more your brain rots. It’s a simple correlation.

In its super-summarised form, the study conducted involved 663 participants reporting their regular diets including the consumption of six types of mushrooms typically eaten in Singapore.

They were then subjected to tests designed to measure cognitive abilities.


90 participants out of the lot were registered to have mild cognitive impairment. This group was then shown to have lower levels of ergothioneine in their body, which tallies with their lower intake of mushrooms.

That’s the gist of it, really, and the mantra stands true. The more the brains eat, the less your mushrooms rot.

But if you want to read the little details like how the tests were kept pure and which professor said what, click here.

About Mild Cognitive Impairment

Now, besides the word of the day, egotoeninny (which I’ve typed so many times by this point that I can spell it confidently without reference), the phrase mild cognitive impairment (MCI) has been thrown around a lot.

Without prior knowledge, this stage doesn’t sound all too bad. But precisely because shit hasn’t hit the fan yet do you have to take this diagnosis seriously because it’s when things can still change.

Credits: SlideShare

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the intermediate stage between normal cognitive decline, associated with ageing, and dementia, which is more serious and has no cure.

Those with mild cognitive impairment are still relatively able-bodied and can slow the degeneration to more critical states through dietary and other lifestyle interventions.

The researchers over at NUS are looking into the effects of pure ergothioneine or its combination with other nutrients and exploring the creation of a brain-saving supplement.


But until then, do yourself a favour and eat it from its natural source!

Credits: Gfycat

No, killing mushrooms in MapleStory M doesn’t count. Or “eating” them in Super Mario Land doesn’t work as well. Sorry.

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