Regularly eating edible mushrooms may have a protective effect against the development of prostate cancer, a common cancer that impacts more than a million men every year. The findings come from Tohoku University, which looked specifically at the preventative effects of mushrooms that are consumed regularly as part of one’s diet. This study, which is the largest of its kind, follows similar past test-tube studies.
Humans have consumed mushrooms for their various medicinal and psychoactive effects for thousands of years. Many different types of mushrooms are still consumed for their potential health benefits; as well, large quantities of mushrooms are eaten as a low-calorie food offering numerous nutrients.
Many studies over the years have looked into the potential health benefits of certain mushrooms on a variety of conditions, including cancer. The researchers with Tohoku University believe their work is the first long-term study that looked at the effects of mushrooms on prostate cancer risk in people who simply ate mushrooms as part of their regular diet.
The findings are based on data collected on more than 36,000 men in Japan over multiple decades. The research accounted for other potentially influential factors like lifestyle and smoking status, as well as medical history and education level. Regardless of how much meat, dairy, fruits, or vegetables the men ate, the researchers found that participants who regularly ate mushrooms had a notable decrease in prostate cancer risk, particularly men over the age of 50.
Study participants who reported eating mushrooms only once or twice per week had an 8-percent lower prostate cancer risk; men who ate mushrooms three or more times per week had a large 17-percent lower risk. Both figures are in comparison to participants who ate mushrooms less than once a week.