Eating plenty of mushrooms could cut your cancer risk, says study

About to do your big food shop? Stick some mushrooms in your basket.

Eating lots of mushrooms is associated with a lower risk of cancer, suggests a new study by Penn State Cancer Institute.

And in fact, when we say ‘a lot’, you don’t need to eat mushrooms for every meal to see the benefits.

Eating just 18g of mushrooms a day – around one medium button mushroom – could be enough to reduce your risk of cancer by 45%.

Researchers analysed 17 cancer studies published between 1966 and 2020 to determine a link between mushroom consumption and the development of cancer – particularly breast cancer.

They found that mushrooms may indeed help to guard against cancer, likely due to their richness in vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants.

This adds to a growing body of research bigging up the benefits of mushrooms, which have previously been linked to cutting the risk of prostate and cervical cancers, and improving brain function.

‘Mushrooms are the highest dietary source of ergothioneine, which is a unique and potent antioxidant and cellular protector,’ said study author Djibril M. Ba.

‘Replenishing antioxidants in the body may help protect against oxidative stress and lower the risk of cancer.’

You don’t need to worry too much about getting the fanciest mushrooms you can find.

While shiitake and oyster mushrooms have higher amounts of the amino acid ergothioneine than button and portabello mushrooms, the researchers found that people who included any variety of mushroom into their diet had a lower risk of cancer.

‘Overall, these findings provide important evidence for the protective effects of mushrooms against cancer,’ said study co-author John Richie. ‘Future studies are needed to better pinpoint the mechanisms involved and specific cancers that may be impacted.’

Load up the stroganoff.

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