( Courtesy The Mushroom Council )

The Mushroom Council, Redwood Shores, Calif., is investing $1.5 million in nutrition research to look into the health benefits of eating mushrooms.

The council members unanimously approved the spending on the two-year research project at a September board meeting. An April nutrition summit steered the council to the decision, and members viewed proposals over the summer, according to a news release.

“This is an auspicious time for the mushroom industry,” Bart Minor, Mushroom Council president and CEO, said in the release. “Awareness has never been higher and adoption of techniques like The Blend continue to keep mushrooms top of mind.”

Before the Mushroom Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act was passed in 1990, little research was available on health and nutrition benefits of mushrooms, according to Minor.

“The industry’s commitment to research over the decades has significantly advanced our understanding and appreciation for mushrooms’ inherent nutrition qualities,” he said in the release. We look forward to continuing this commitment with the next chapter of research investment.”

At the April summit, 26 researcher and council board members who’ve reviewed past research met to establish criteria for new research, according to the release. The group later set neurocognition and food pattern modeling as priorities. Their request for proposals resulted in 15 proposals, and the council’s scientific Research Advisory Panel chose projects to fund.

Those projects, according to the release, include:

  • Insights into mushrooms’ relationship with cognitive health in older adults;
  • Studying mushrooms’ effect on brain health in animal modeling;
  • Investigating mushroom consumption and preference among preschoolers;
  •  Analysis of mushrooms for bioactives/ergothioneine for inclusion in a U.S. Department of Agriculture database; and
  • Modeling the effects of substituting and/or adding a serving of mushrooms to healthy eating patterns.

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