Researchers from the University of Minnesota matched common mushrooms and meat according to their levels of protein, which is the most satiating macronutrient, and calories.
“Previous studies on mushrooms suggests that they can be more satiating than meat. But this effect had not been studied with protein-matched amounts until now,” Joanne Slavin, lead author of the study, said.
The researchers wanted to evaluate the differences of satiety and food consumption of either Agaricus bisporous mushrooms, also known as white button mushrooms, or meat. They fed 32 individuals, 17 women and 15 men, with either 8oz or 226g of white button mushrooms or 1oz or 283g of lean ground meat two times a day and monitored them for 10 days.
The results, published in the journal Appetite, revealed that there is a great difference in the satiety levels between eating mushroom and consuming meat. The study subjects said that they were less hungry, had greater fullness, and ate less after eating the mushrooms for breakfast in contrast to eating meat. These findings add to the increasing number of studies that prove the health benefits of mushrooms.
“Mushrooms may aid weight management and satiety, and thus contribute to overall wellness,” said Mary Jo Feeney of the Mushroom Council.
Feeney explained that it has become particularly important to find plant-based food sources that can be rich in protein and offer other health benefits as well.
Dementia is a general term for the degeneration in mental ability, which is severe enough to hinder the daily activities of a person, with Alzheimer's disease being the most common type. In 2015, about 46.8 million people around the world were living with dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Disease International.
Aside from the weight loss benefits of mushrooms, previous research found that eating mushrooms can help protect against dementia, according to a report by the New York Post. Researchers at the Malaya University in Malaysia studied 11 types of edible and medicinal mushrooms and their effects on the brains of mice. Their findings, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, revealed that these mushrooms boosted the production of the nerve growth factor or NGF, which is essential in regulating growth, maintenance, proliferation, and survival of certain nerve cells in the brain.
“Regular consumption of the mushrooms may reduce or delay development of age-related neurodegeneration,” said Vikineswary Sabaratnam of Malaya University.
The researchers found that the mushroom called the Lion's Mane can improve mild cognitive impairment, which can result to dementia in individuals aged 50 to 80 years old. Moreover, the mushroom known as cordyceps was found to have anti-inflammatory effects that could help avoid memory loss through preventing death of neurons. In addition, Reishi mushrooms were found to enhance cognitive functions.
“Mushrooms might have the potential to be functional foods with neuro-protective and cognitive benefits,” Sabaratnam said. “Mushrooms contain diverse yet exclusive bioactive compounds that are not found in plants. It's very likely a dietary intake of mushroom or mushroom-based extracts might have beneficial effects on human health and improve brain function.”
Sabaratnam and his team suggested that mushrooms can potentially be used to protect against the development of Alzheimer's disease. (Related: Mushrooms: The Underestimated Super Food.)
Find out more health benefits of mushrooms at at AlternativeMedicine.news.