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Eat mushrooms and live (a bit) longer

Edible mushrooms are health foods in many cultures. With good reason, according to an epidemiological study and a meta-study that appeared in Nutrition Journal. If you eat mushrooms, you probably live longer than if you don't eat mushrooms. Well - a little longer...

Eat mushrooms and live (a bit) longer

Epidemiological study
Djibril Ba, an epidemiologist at Penn State College of Medicine, analyzed data from 30378 Americans who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2003 and 2015. When the study started, the study participants had provided details about their lifestyle, and in 2015, the researchers determined which study participants were still alive.

After Ba smoothing out the influence of all possible other factors with statistical calculations, he found that the study participants who ate mushrooms were 16 percent less likely to die than the study participants who never ate mushrooms. The association was not significant, but the trend was clear.

Click on the table below for a larger version.

Eat mushrooms and live (a bit) longer

Ba collected other epidemiological studies on the association between mushroom consumption on the one hand and the risk of death on the other. He found, including his own study discussed above, 5.

When Ba aggregated and re-analyzed the results of the 5 study, he found that consuming edible mushrooms reduced the risk of death by 6 percent.

Eat mushrooms and live (a bit) longer

The mushroom intake was too low to find an association between the amount of mushrooms in the diet and mortality. Unlike in countries like China and Japan, Westerners only eat very small amounts of mushrooms. The average Westerner who eats mushrooms eats an omelet with a few pieces of mushroom every week. Which is, obviously, very little.

This probably also explains why the life-prolonging effect that Ba found was small.

Nutr J. 2021 Sep 21;20(1):80.

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