The findings published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, suggest mushrooms are a potential 'superfood' which could reduce or delay development of dementia. Researchers reviewed the scientific evidence with regard to their anti-Alzheimer's effects and found "they may fulfil a preventive function against the development of Alzheimer's and other negative mental health conditions."
Professor Vikineswary Sabaratnam, of Malaya University in Kuala Lumpur, said: "Regular consumption of the mushrooms may reduce or delay development of age-related neuro-degeneration. Findings state that the fungi is a potential superfood which could reduce or delay dementia.
It's very likely a dietary intake of mushroom or mushroom-based extracts might have beneficial effects on human health and improve brain function.
The researchers said experiments showed a "number of edible mushrooms" have been shown to contain rare and exotic compounds that are good for the brain.
One H. erinaceus - commonly known as the lion's mane mushroom - was found to improve mild cognitive impairment - a form of memory loss that can lead to dementia in 50 to 80 year-olds.
Another D. indusiata - dubbed 'Queen of the Mushrooms' - increased NGF in rats' neurons while C. militaris - or the 'caterpillar fungus' - improved lab rodents' memory for getting round a water maze.
Experiments have shown edible mushrooms containing exotic compounds that are good for the brain
Prof Sabaratnam said it was estimated the global medical cost for dementia was USD 604 billion in 2013 - about one per cent of the world gross domestic product.
Current drug therapy for neuro-degenerative diseases is ineffective with many side effects - and it only provides a short-term delay in progression.
Prof Sabaratnam said: "An alternative approach to mitigating such diseases is by using complementary health approaches - such as dietary supplementations and functional foods.
Further research suggests eating plenty of mushrooms can also help build up the immune system
"Functional food is food that has a potentially positive effect on health beyond its basic nutrition.
"Examples of functional food are oatmeal, for its high soluble fibre that can help lower cholesterol levels, and orange juice fortified with calcium for bone health.
"In general, functional food is considered to offer additional benefits that may reduce the risk of disease or promote optimal health.
"Turmeric, green tea, and gingko are examples of functional foods that demonstrate therapeutic effects on brain by exerting neuro-protective and antioxidant effects.
"Mushrooms might have the potential to be functional foods with neuro-protective and cognitive benefits.
"Mushrooms contain diverse yet exclusive bioactive compounds that are not found in plants.
"It's very likely a dietary intake of mushrooms, mushroom-based extracts or supplements such as Ganoderma www.healthycoffeedrinker.co.uk might have beneficial effects on human health and improve brain function, build up the immune system and fend off bugs.
They are rich in niacin which helps the body's tissues and improves toxin disposal and contain potassium needed to help prevent raised blood pressure.
Mushrooms are also high in antioxidants, B vitamins and other minerals such as selenium, iron and copper.
Mushrooms are low in calories and can be counted as part of the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
Journal editor Dr Sampath Parthasarathy, of Central Florida University, said: "In contrast to the body of literature on food ingredients that may benefit cardiometabolic diseases and cancer, very few studies have focused on food that may benefit neuro-degenerative diseases such as Dementia