- Eating mushrooms three times a week or more was found to have a 17 percent lower risk of diagnosing prostate cancer than those who ate mushrooms less than once a week.
- Prostate cancer affects approximately 175,000 men each year in the US, so prevention is important.
- Mushrooms have antioxidant properties and are rich in L-ergothioneine, which reduces inflammation and offers some cancer protection.
Mushrooms protect men from cancer
If you're a mushroom fanatic, you may have a new reason to be excited (at least if you're a man). Indulge in your frequent consumption of these tasty mushrooms as new research suggests mushrooms may help protect men from developing prostate cancer.
The study, conducted at Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, found that eating mushrooms regularly was linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer. These results are based on a study that included 36,499 men aged 40 to 79 years. The subjects, who lived in either Miyagi Prefecture or Ohsaki Prefecture, were persecuted for nearly 25 years. The men answered a wide range of lifestyle questions related to their physical activity, typical diet, alcohol consumption, whether they smoke, and information about their medical and family history was collected.
Those who reported consuming mushrooms three times a week or more were found to have a 17 percent lower risk of diagnosing prostate cancer than their peers who ate mushrooms less than once a week. Participants who ate mushrooms once or twice a week also benefited from an eight percent decrease in prostate cancer risk. The effect of the mushrooms was particularly pronounced in men aged 50 and over and in men whose diet was heavily influenced by the consumption of meat and dairy products and less of fruit and vegetables.
The importance of studying the effects of fungi on humans
Other research has shown links between mushroom consumption and a lower incidence of prostate cancer in cell cultures and animal studies. However, the current study is significant because it has an impact on humans and involves a large sample. We all know that something that works in a laboratory under sterile, very precise conditions may not necessarily produce the same results in the complex human body. This study overcomes this objection.
Hence, these results are good news, especially since prostate cancer is a very common and very fatal form of cancer. Around 175,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S. alone, and the disease causes more than 30,000 deaths annually. If it's detected at an early stage, your doctor may suggest taking a watch and waiting to see how aggressively the prostate cancer is progressing before taking action. However, surgery or radiation is usually recommended for those in need of treatment, with both risks and possible side effects.
How do mushrooms help protect the prostate?
The benefits that mushrooms impart may be due, at least in part, to their antioxidant properties and an amino acid found in them known as L-ergothioneine. This amino acid reduces oxidative stress, which puts a strain on our body at the cellular level and is linked to chronic inflammation and the development of cancer.
Mushrooms are nowhere near as popular in the US as they are in Japan. The average American eats less than five grams of mushrooms daily, while the average intake among the Japanese men in the study was 7.6 grams per day. Including mushrooms as part of a balanced diet two to three times a week would certainly be beneficial. Current research has not been specific as to which types of mushrooms are best. Hence, consider the six mushroom varieties shown as a good place to start to lower your risk of cognitive problems.