It’s a love or hate ingredient, but a new study has revealed a link between eating mushrooms and lower risk of prostate cancer.
Researchers from Tohoku University suggest that consuming mushrooms on a regular basis reduces the risk of prostate cancer in men - especially those aged 50 or older.
Dr Shu Zhang, who led the study, said: "Test-tube studies and studies conducted on living organisms have shown that mushrooms have the potential to prevent prostate cancer.
"However, the relationship between mushroom consumption and incident prostate cancer in humans has never been investigated before.
"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first cohort study indicating the prostate cancer-preventive potential of mushrooms at a population level.”
In the study, the researchers surveyed 36,499 men about their lifestyle choices including food consumption, psychical activity and smoking and drinking habits, and analysed their medical records.
The results revealed that overall, 3.3 per cent of the participants developed prostate cancer during a follow-up period.
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However, participants who ate mushrooms once or twice a week had an 8 per cent lower risk of developing the disease, compared to those who ate mushrooms less than once a week.
Meanwhile, men who ate mushrooms more than three times a week had a 17 per cent lower risk.
Dr Zhang said: “The results of our study suggest mushrooms may have a positive health effect on humans.”
The researchers believe that the protective effects of mushrooms may be due to the fact that they contain high levels of L-ergothioneine - an antioxidant believed to mitigate against oxidative stress.
Dr Zhang added: “Although our study suggests regular consumption of mushrooms may reduce the risk of prostate cancer, we also want to emphasise that eating a healthy and balanced diet is much more important than filling your shopping basket with mushrooms.”