mushrooms

Mushrooms as Prebiotics

The fungi can be good for your gut health.

THE GIST
Onions, garlic, walnuts, and dark chocolate are well-known prebiotic foods, but now researchers are adding another ingredient to the list. 

When they fed lean mice white button mushrooms, they found the fungus increased the presence of a good bacteria in the gut called Prevotella. That shows the mushrooms act as prebiotics, according to the study, published in the Journal of Functional Foods.
EXPERT INSIGHT
“We haven’t figured out what components in the mushrooms are responsible for the prebiotic effect,” says study author Margherita Cantorna, Ph.D., distinguished professor of molecular immunology at Pennsylvania State University in University Park. 

That said, prebiotics help good gut bacteria grow, which in turn can make probiotics (from supplements or food sources) more effective. 
THE BOTTOM LINE
With lots of other health perks, white button mushrooms are a low-calorie ingredient that can keep the gut healthy, says Cantorna. She recommends eating them (and other prebiotic foods) regularly, either raw or cooked, to get the benefits.