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    No. 1 food that protects your gut from Western-diet’s side effects, according to professor

    Intestinal dysfunction is regarded to be one of the underlying mechanisms that contribute significantly to the development of Western-style diet-related diseases. Diet and lifestyle are modifiable factors that play essential roles in one’s health.

    To combat the health concerns of the Western-style diet (WSD), which frequently includes an abundance of fatty foods and added sweets, eating more edible fungus may be an option, according to researcher Zhenhua Liu from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

    In this new study, research will explore if mushrooms might improve gut health and provide a protective buffer against disease in Western-style diets, which have been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic health conditions in the United States and Europe.

    Dried pleurotus mushrooms, in particular, have a unique nutritional composition: they are high in elements that are lacking in the western diet, such as fiber and vitamin D, making them perfect for gut health.

    As he notes: “Intestinal dysfunction is thought to be one of the underlying mechanisms that contribute so significantly to the development of WSD-related diseases.”

    “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,” adds the researcher.

    The physiological and molecular mechanisms by which these mushrooms promote intestinal health will be investigated in Liu’s research. The UMass Amherst team will look at the mushroom’s interaction with Turicibacter in the context of Western-style diet-related intestinal dysfunction and the impact it could have on gut microbiota remodeling.

    “We hope this study will provide the mechanistic understanding of the role of Turicibacter in dietary obesity and gut health,” Liu says. “It will also provide important insight into mushrooms as a whole-food approach to improve the quality of WSD and gut health.”

    Image Credit: Getty

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