Study links mushroom consumption to lower cancer risk
Hershey, PA — A mushroom – or more – a day may keep cancer at bay, researchers from Pennsylvania State University say.
The researchers, from PSU’s colleges of medicine and agricultural sciences, conducted an analysis of 17 cancer studies from 1966 to 2020 that included more than 19,500 cancer patients. Results show that participants who ate about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of mushrooms a day had a 45% lower risk of cancer than those who didn’t consume mushrooms.
Mushrooms are rich in vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants, PSU says. And although the shiitake, oyster, maitake and king oyster varieties have the highest amounts of a specific cancer-fighting agent, the researchers found that patients who included any variety of mushrooms in their daily diets had a lower risk of cancer.
“Mushrooms are the highest dietary source of ergothioneine, which is a unique and potent antioxidant and cellular protector,” PSU epidemiology graduate student Djibril M. Ba said in the release. “Replenishing antioxidants in the body may help protect against oxidative stress and lower the risk of cancer.”
The researchers note that the strongest link to a specific cancer risk reduction was among breast cancer patients. However, Ba notes that most of the studies didn’t include other forms of cancer, and these new findings could be used to establish healthier diets that help prevent cancer.
The study was published online March 16 in the journal Advances in Nutrition.