According to the researchers from the Pennsylvania State University, mushrooms contain large amounts of two antioxidants that act against the biological mechanisms of aging.
In particular, according to the study published in the ”Food Chemistry” review, mushrooms are the only source of ergothioneine and glutathione, two very important antioxidants.
“What we’ve found is that, without a doubt, mushrooms are the top nutritional source of these two antioxidants, and that some varieties are particularly rich in these,” says Robert Bielman, a professor at the Pennsylvania State University.
As the professor explains, when the body uses the food to produce energy, so-called free radicals produce oxidative stress. Free radicals are thought to cause damage to cells, useful proteins or even DNA itself. Free radicals and oxidative stress are involved in a wide range of age-related conditions, such as cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Antioxidants have the ability to mitigate these negative effects, because they neutralize free radicals.
The highest content of ergothioneine and glutathione appeared to be different in porcini mushrooms, while more common varieties, such as white mushrooms, have fewer antioxidants, but they still excel in antioxidant value from most foods, researchers note.