Here’s Why You Need to Eat More Mushrooms (part 2)

three white mushrooms on beige wooden table
Photo by Emma Jones on

So, where were we? Oh yes, I ended my last post gushing over ET, found in mushrooms. Not ET ‘Phone Home’, obviously. But ET — or Ergothioneine — the antioxidant.

And how it’s able to get into the cell’s energy factory where it cleans up the mess caused by free radicals, the bad guys resulting from energy production.

And oxidation in the mitochondria causes… you got it, Sherlock. Aging. Think wrinkles, impaired memory, to name but two.

But our favourite fungi are so much more than mere one-trick ponies. (Yeah, I know they’re mushrooms, not ponies. Sheesh! But it sounds good. Okay?)

Pyrogallol,  a nutrient found in all sorts of mushrooms acts as an anti-inflammatory.  Great news, I hear you say, as inflammation is linked to all the common diseases: cancer, dementia, diabetes, heart disease, plus others.

And there’s more. Those clever scientists have also found that mushrooms help boost our immune system. And no, you don’t need to eat gallons of them.

Studies show that just a cup a day of the humble button mushroom for one week results in fifty percent more antibodies (they’re the good guys fighting your corner against bacteria and viruses).  Fifty percent!

Pass the shiitakes, please.

Until next time,

Oh, and please visit the site below for references and more info:

Here’s Why You Need To Eat More Mushrooms

food wood kitchen cutting board
Photo by Pixabay on

Mushrooms seem to me to be an understated food. I had no idea how great they are until just recently.

I know they taste great sautéed in a little butter, pinch of salt and pepper, on a piece of wholegrain toast. Yummy.

Which brings back memories of autumnal afternoons spent foraging for chanterelles in the woods back home. Then off home to cook them… But I digress.

Mushrooms are… wait for the drum roll… the only plant food to produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. And vitamin D, as we know, helps keep ’em ole bones strong.

And for those calorie-conscious folks out there: six medium-sized button mushrooms contain roughly 22 calories.

Being a fan of antioxidant-rich foods, mushrooms must surely come with some of those. And they do. Namely Ergothioneine. Or ET, for short.

If asked to name foods with antioxidants in them, most of us will say things like: berries, citrus fruits, peppers, green tea, etc. The usual suspects.

But mushrooms. Who knew? Let’s just say they’ve gone up more than a notch in my estimation. But there’s more.

Remember my last post on aging and free radicals? And I spoke about mitochondria, our little cellular power plants where energy from the food we eat is turned into a form the body can use.

Well, listen to this: ET is one of two antioxidants that can get into the mitochondria. And once inside, it helps clean up some of the mess caused by oxidation. How cool is that?

There’s so much more to tell you, so I’ll post a Part 2 on this topic shortly.

Until then





Eat This To Slow Down The Rusting



Maybe you saw this headline and thought, a) there’s a typo, or, b) the author of this blog has gone a bit doolally. Well, it’s neither because the truth is: we really are rusting inside. You, me, everyone. But, it doesn’t have to be as bad as it sounds. Read on and I’ll explain.

In A Little Known Reason You Should Eat Your Greens I talked about how a diet rich in fruits and veggies helps you smell sweet. All thanks to those little things called antioxidants.  In this post I thought I’d sing their praises some more.

Back in the 70s, scientists came up with a theory to explain why we age. Put simply – we rust. Except it’s called oxidation. And it doesn’t look like rust. But the principle’s the same.

Oxidation, aka free radical damage, aka oxidative stress, happens in our cells all the time.

Whenever food passes our lips (every couple of hours or so, in my case), mitochondria, little power plants in our cells, work overtime to convert the energy in that lasagna you just ate into something a bit more user-friendly.

So, while oxidation is a by-product of natural cellular processes, it also causes our cells to age. And by extension, us.

Then, of course, we go and add insult to injury by doing stuff that adds to the damage. Think smoking, binge drinking, and gorging on foods high in sugar, salt, saturated- and trans fats. You name it.

Is there a good part to this story? you may ask. Yes, and here it is. We’re all the proud owners of an enzyme (please Google it, or I’ll go off on a tangent) called Superoxide Dismutase. SOD, for short. And?

Well, SOD works hard to neutralise those pesky free radicals busy causing mayhem inside the mitochondria. SOD is to your body what Batman is to Gotham City. Or Spiderman to New York… you get the picture. In short, a biochemical super hero.

Now, here’s the even better part. The part where we can actually do something to help our poor, hard-working SOD. Ready? OK, so what do you reckon helps boost it?

A pack of twenty Marlboro Lights? A 6-pack of Stella? Hours in the sun with no SPF? No. No. And no.

By now, you must have an inkling… Yep, you got it: antioxidant-rich foods. Think berries, citrus fruits, green tea, black tea (minus milk and 3 sugars), veggies — the deeper the colour, the more antioxidants. Think rainbow. And there’s many more.

So, you see, there’s hope. You can stay as ‘rust-free’ as possible, just by ‘eating a rainbow’, every day. And look after your SOD — think of it as a pet. Nurture it. Nourish it. Love it.

You know what you need to do.

Until next time


What Kills 11 Million People Worldwide? (Hint: it’s not smoking.)

collection of junk food

Just last month The Lancet published a study showing that 11 million people worldwide die because of…  Have a guess.

Smoking? Nope. Drugs? Nope again. OK, so, globally 11 million deaths are linked to… you got it, bad diets. The one thing that most of us, at least as adults, have some control over: what we put in our mouths.

A healthy diet is not about fancy ingredients. It’s about real food. Food that’s as close as possible to its natural state. The kind of food your gran would recognise.

You know, something that’s grown in the ground. Or in a tree. Or a bush. The type of foods humans were meant to eat.

Not something that started life on a conveyor belt and comes packaged in polystyrene with an ingredients list longer than your arm.

This is such a big topic and one that’s close to my heart, so I’m going to write more about it in upcoming posts.

Until next time



A Little Known Reason You Should Eat Your Greens


“I make sure I get a lot of vegetables, a lot of fruit. I am a big fruit man; I am a vegetable man, anyway.”
Magic Johnson

It might surprise you that smelling good is about more than dousing yourself with Lynx Africa or Burberry’s Her. Namely diet.

How so? Eating your greens (and reds, oranges and purples, too) really do make you smell sweeter. Let me explain.

It’s to do with free radicals: atoms with unpaired electrons causing mayhem with your cells in their search for other lonesome electrons to pair up with.

Far from being some abnormal reaction, the formation of free radicals is a byproduct of lots of processes like metabolism and other cellular stuff.

It’s the accumulated damage over time that becomes an issue. Years or decades of smoking (who would’ve thought?) and eating junk adds to it. Even sunbathing and strenuous exercise produce free radicals.

Now, don’t take that to mean you should stop exercising – don’t! The pros of keeping fit far outweigh the cons. For sure.

So, what to do? Well, here’s the good part. Fruits and veggies contain antioxidants. Like the friend who stays to help clear up after the mother of all parties, antioxidants help mop up the mess caused by those pesky free radicals.

Now, if your plate is usually covered with beige and brown foods (potatoes, fries, deep-fried stuff, etc. ) and your idea of veg to go with it is a couple of peas, chances are that eventually — and this might not happen for years — a sour smell could be making its way out of your pores.

And it’s nothing to do with poor hygiene. It’s just a sign of the harm caused by free radicals and not enough antioxidants to neutralise them. In other words, too much beige and not enough green.

The above is obviously a simplified explanation of something much more complex so check out for more info.



How I did a 24-hour fast

clean clear cold drink
Photo by Pixabay on

I did a 24-hour water fast (allowing myself black coffee as well) between Sunday and Monday just gone.

Having read some interesting things about the effects of fasting on mice, where calorie restriction lead to a longer life span as well as healthier and younger-looking mice, I wanted to give it a try.

Humans aren’t mice, of course, but the research is very interesting. And who’s to say some of that can’t apply to humans as well? My guess is that those scientists, like Dr Valter Longo, will eventually be able to tell  us more about it.

Anyhow, I ended up buying The Longevity Diet, by abovementioned Dr Longo. I haven’t read through it yet. But so far so good.

I know I eat too much. And so does probably 90% of people in the western world.  There are lots of online articles on how portion sizes have grown over the past few decades.

For example: a plain bagel in 1993 weighed 70 g; in 2013 it had increased in mass to 86 g.  A 160-gram chicken pie in -93 had gained a whopping 80 grams by 2013. Just saying.(

Anyway, back to my fast. I must say, it was nowhere near as bad as you might think. For one, I planned it so that I’d do it on a day where I knew I’d be really busy at work.

I also made sure to start the fast in the evening — I ate my last meal around 5.30 p.m. on Sunday — so by the time I woke up Monday morning, I’d slept through the first half of it!

I had a cup of black coffee (nothing in it) and a glass or two of water first thing. I take a bottle with me to work; that way I keep sipping it throughout the day.

I had about three black coffees and loads more water at work. I can honestly say that it wasn’t unbearable at all; it was actually OK.

The thing about hunger — and I’ve heard others say this too — is that it comes in waves; it’s not a constant. Thank goodness. So, in that 8-hour working day, I think I had about 3 or 4 ‘waves’. Each one lasting maybe 10-15 minutes. That’s it. Really.

My weakest point of the day was when my work mates asked if I wanted a shortbread biscuit or two with my coffee. Or a chocolate digestive. I managed to resist but not without experiencing a few minutes of seriously wanting that bloody biscuit.

But that was it. The rest of the afternoon pretty much sailed by. Being busy really helped.  And I felt strangely energised all day, no dips at all. No headache either.

Tucking into dinner 24 hours after starting my fast, I felt as if I’d achieved something.  That definitely gave my confidence a much-needed boost.

And I also felt as if I’d done my body a favour by giving it a break from constant eating and snacking.

I’ll definitely do it again next week. In fact, it’s already pencilled into my diary.

You’re never too old for the catwalk


I came across an article in The New York Times about Wang Deshun, age 80, who made an appearance on the runway of China Fashion Week in Beijing in 2015. An actor and artist, he is not afraid to try new things. And he has the physique of someone half his age!

According to Mr Wang himself: “One way to tell if you’re old or not is to ask yourself, ‘Do you dare try something you’ve never done before?'” He goes on to say, “Nature determines age, but you determine your state of mind.” Hear, hear!

Now that’s what I find truly inspirational. An 80-year-old on a catwalk is brilliant in itself, but it’s his attitude that I admire.




Will I still blog at 106?


I begin this blog with the aim to provide a light-hearted antidote to what seems like a societal obsession with youth and ‘beauty’.  I’m not in any way against 20-somethings (I was one myself once) nor am I against beautiful 20-somethings. (That, I admit, I was not.)

Rather, I want it to be a celebration of people over 50 and beyond. We’ve all met, or heard of someone, who acts younger than their years. Like Dagny mentioned below. Or the woman who jumped out of an airplane to celebrate her 100th birthday. (If I remember correctly, she’d done it once before!)

I appreciate that not everyone can skydive or blog, or whatever. For many people, old age brings debilitating illnesses, meaning they can’t do the things they used to. And factors such as loneliness can often lead to mental health conditions such as depression. Anyone who has ever suffered from depression would know that the last thing you’d feel like is to hurl yourself out of a plane for fun.

I’m not attempting to discount any of those people. I just want to highlight the positives of getting old/er by writing about inspirational people between 50 and 106 doing things that are considered ordinary when you’re in your 20s or 30s but seen as extraordinary when you’re, gasp, older.

Dagny Carlsson is an example of the kind of person I want to celebrate. At the tender age of 99, she enrolled in a computing class, and now, at the age of 106, she is a prolific blogger with occasional stints on Swedish TV. Check out her site at  (It’s in Swedish)

Until next time