Increasing Mushroom Consumption May Be Good for Gut Health

The next time you order pizza or whip up a creamy risotto, go ahead and load up on the mushrooms.

Adding more edible mushrooms to your diet may be one way to counter the health risks associated with the Western-style diet (WSD), which is often high in fatty foods and added sugars.

Fatty and sugary foods contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers and a host of other chronic health conditions.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst studied how modifiable factors such as diet and lifestyle and their metabolism-related genetic variants interact to influence the development of chronic diseases.

The team focused on identifying metabolic targets to prevent or treat obesity and insulin resistance.

“Gut dysfunction is believed to be one of the underlying mechanisms that contributes so significantly to the development of WSD-related diseases,” said nutritionist Zhenhua Liu, associate professor in the School of Public Health and Science. university health.

In previous research, the team found that a rarely studied bacterium, Turicibacter, is almost completely depleted by high-fat diet-induced obesity, but not by genetic obesity.

But they found that sun-dried oyster mushrooms, which are found throughout most of the world, have a unique food composition rich in several nutrients lacking in the Western diet, such as dietary fiber and vitamin D.

“It’s a perfect supplement as a natural whole food to improve the quality of Western-style diets, with the added benefit of improving our overall gut health,” Liu said.

Liu’s study will examine the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which these fungi improve gut health.

Specifically, the team will examine the fungus’s interaction with Turicibacter in Western-style diet-related gut dysfunction and the effect it may have on gut microbiome remodeling.

“We hope this study will provide a mechanistic understanding of the role of Turicibacter in dietary obesity and gut health,” Liu said.

“It will also provide important information about mushrooms as a whole food approach to improving WSD quality and gut health.”