Edible Mushrooms for Brain Health by David Webster and Aubree Kozie

Recent studies have found that those with diets which integrate mushrooms, even in small portions have a lower risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which often precedes Alzheimer’s disease. One researcher, Lee Feng, reflected, “It seems that a commonly available single ingredient could have a dramatic effect on cognitive decline.” 

Mushrooms, otherwise known as fungi, are rich in a combination of diverse nutrients including fiber, antioxidants, and protein, as well as vitamins and minerals. This makes mushrooms not only protective against neurodegeneration, but also makes them powerful in promoting brain cell growth. 

Mushrooms found to protect cognitive function, slow aging, and promote longevity include:

  • golden mushrooms
  • oyster mushrooms
  • shiitake mushrooms
  • white button mushrooms
  • lions mane
  • reishi

One study showed that eating as little as two portions of cooked mushrooms per week could lower one’s risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment by up to 50 percent!

Try adding mushrooms to your diet, if you aren’t eating them regularly already–your brain will thank you for it.


Manzi, P., Aguzzi, A., & Pizzoferrato, L. (2001). Nutritional value of mushrooms widely consumed in Italy. Food chemistry, 73(3), 321-325.

Hung, P. V., & Nhi, N. N. Y. (2012). Nutritional composition and antioxidant capacity of several edible mushrooms grown in the Southern Vietnam. International Food Research Journal, 19(2).

Breene, W. M. (1990). Nutritional and medicinal value of specialty mushrooms. Journal of food protection, 53(10), 883-894.

Feng, L., Cheah, I. K. M., Ng, M. M. X., Li, J., Chan, S. M., Lim, S. L., … & Halliwell, B. (2019). The association between mushroom consumption and mild cognitive impairment: a community-based cross-sectional study in Singapore. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 68(1), 197-203.

Stamets, P. (2012). Lion’s Mane: A Mushroom That Improves Your Memory and Mood?. Huffington Post, Aug, 8.

Lai, C. S. W., Yu, M. S., Yuen, W. H., So, K. F., Zee, S. Y., & Chang, R. C. C. (2008). Antagonizing β-amyloid peptide neurotoxicity of the anti-aging fungus Ganoderma lucidum. Brain research, 1190, 215-224.

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