To combat obesity and the accumulation of visceral fat, a help can come from mushrooms. Yes, because king trumpet mushrooms, shiitake and pleurotus mushrooms help to decrease body weight in case of overweight and obesity, guarantee a correct use of glucose and regulate the intestinal microbiota. This is what emerges from a very recent scientific research published in the journal Nutrients (Hu et al, Nutrients, 2022).
The problem of obesity
Obesity is an increasingly observed condition among the world population. Overweight and obesity are associated, in the long term, with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, liver and biliary tract disease, cellular degeneration and cardiovascular disease. A lifestyle with moderate exercise is certainly helpful in combating overweight and obesity. But diet is also a valuable ally against these conditions. By this we do not mean to speak of dietary sacrifices to the limits of endurance, but of foods that, on the contrary, should be included in the diet, which in any case should be varied and based on fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish and little red meat. An example of foods capable of combating obesity is given by mushrooms.
Mushrooms that counteract the accumulation of visceral fat
Mushrooms bring valuable components such as saponins, phenolic compounds, flavonoids and tannins with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory action and capable of strengthening the immune response. Some mushrooms more than others have proved capable of counteracting obesity and the accumulation of visceral fat, such as shiitake mushrooms, king trumpet mushrooms, grifola frondosa or maitake and pleurotus mushrooms. The research we are talking about today has focused on the anti-obesity properties of the oyster mushroom, scientific name pleurotus ostreatus.
Oyster mushrooms protect the intestinal microbiota and counteract weight gain
The research was carried out in the laboratory on a population of mice. The animals were divided into three groups. The first group was given a low-fat diet for a month and a half. The second group was fed a high-fat diet containing pleurotus ostreatus-type mushrooms. The third group was given a diet high in fats but without mushrooms. What emerged was that in the group that had taken the mushrooms it was possible to prevent obesity, even if they were subjected to a high-fat diet. The explanation of what has been observed must be sought, in part, in the action of mushrooms at the level of the intestinal microbiota, which is the set of bacteria that live in our gut. In fact, in mice that had been fed a diet high in fat and mushrooms, the intestinal microbiota, as regards its composition, was similar to that of mice that had instead followed a low-fat diet. This effect is due to the action of mushrooms that have been able to increase the population of good bacteria in the intestinal microbiota such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, while reducing the population of the most harmful bacteria. This change in the microbiota explains the loss of body weight even in the presence of a high-fat diet. In addition, the intake of mushrooms has also made it possible to regulate glucose levels, always ensuring proper use of this by the body, and to increase the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. These effects also allow us to explain the anti-obesity action of mushrooms.
The way to combat overweight and obesity does not go through large dietary sacrifices. Of course, refined foods should be limited as much as possible, but this is a guideline for the well-being of the entire body and not just for combating overweight. It is important to follow a varied and balanced diet, which, as we have seen, also includes mushrooms, which help regulate glucose levels, accelerate metabolism, protect the intestinal microbiota and counteract weight gain, as well as mitigate inflammation and support the immune system.