We’re skipping the gym tonight and opting for chocolate, red wine and mushroom pizza instead. The news is in, and just as we got excited by the fact that chocolate and red wine can help slow the ageing process, it turns out mushrooms are magic, too.
A new study out of Pennsylvania State University has found that your favourite fungi may have anti-ageing properties. Mushies have the highest natural levels of two key antioxidants: ergothioneine and glutathione. These powerhouse antioxidants can help the body replenish and fight free radicals, leading to a longer, healthier life.
The study author, Robert Beelman, PhD, said in a press release: “The free radical theory of aging says when we oxidize our food to produce energy, there’s a number of free radicals that are produced as side products of that action, and many of them are quite toxic. The body has mechanisms to control most of them, but eventually enough accrue to cause damage, which has been associated with many of the diseases of aging, like cancer, coronary heart disease and Alzheimer’s.”
But not all mushrooms were created equal. While your stock-standard button mushroom contains more antioxidants than most other foods, the real heroes are flavour-packed porcini mushrooms.
"We found that the porcini has the highest, by far, of any we tested," said Beelman. "This species is really popular in Italy where searching for it has become a national pastime."
We can’t all go frolicking through the fields of Italy for fresh porcini, so to get your porcini fix here, buy dried porcini mushrooms from your local greengrocer, then use them to make this porcini mushroom lasagne. Serve it with a glass of red and follow it up with a few squares of dark chocolate. Healthy eating never tasted so good.
Melbourne-based food and wine writer Sarah Gamboni has had to pull back on a few of her favourite things – chilli, gin and espresso – since bringing her daughter, Frankie, into the world. But she has discovered one post-natal perk: those stretchy-waist maternity jeans are heaven when heading out for a big meal. Follow her on Instagram @eatmywords_au