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Boosts metabolism and is packed with protein: five weight loss benefits of mushrooms

Mushrooms are known to have a number of health benefits, and it can also help lose weight.

Overweight can be caused by a variety of causes, most notably genetic, hormonal and lifestyle factors. Research has shown that mushrooms can have a weight loss effect thanks to the nutrients they contain.

Mushrooms are strange creatures. They are neither plants nor animals, but members of the kingdom of fungi, which includes about 22,000 species. They play a very important role in the ecosystem and have been widely used as food and medicine since ancient times.

The effects of mushrooms

Despite the number of known species, only about 10% of them have been studied, according to a 2018 study. In any case, the results so far and their thousands of years of use make them one of the most important dietary supplements.

They contain both primary and secondary metabolites, including polysaccharides, flavonoids, phenols, fatty acids, amino acids, proteins and minerals, all of which have beneficial effects on the human body. Their vitamin D and calcium content is particularly noteworthy, as the combined effect of these two nutrients has been shown to support weight loss.

In addition to their low caloric content, mushrooms are an excellent source of protein, which helps to build and regenerate muscles, and suppress hunger by inhibiting the production of the hunger hormone ghrelin. Proteins have been shown to speed up metabolism and increase calorie burn.

Boosts metabolism and is packed with protein: five weight loss benefits of mushrooms
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Restore the intestinal flora

A 2015 study looked at the effects of an extract of the fungus Ganoderma lucidum. In the trial, it was found to act as a prebiotic in the intestines, balancing the microbiome, which is known to have weight-loss and anti-obesity effects. This property of the fungus was confirmed in another study, also in 2015.

Reduce blood fat levels

Mushrooms have also been shown to have cholesterol-lowering effects. The edible varieties are known to reduce serum cholesterol levels thanks to their PUFA, or polyunsaturated fatty acid content.

Inhibit obesity

In 2008, an extract of the snow fungus, or Tremella fuciformis, was tested. The research showed that the polysaccharide it contains prevents the formation of a certain type of fat cells. The results suggest that it could also be used as an anti-obesity prebiotic.

Regulate blood sugar

Fungi promote weight loss and fat burning by regulating blood glucose levels. In a one-year and a four-day clinical trial with participants who were overweight or diabetic, a group of subjects were asked to replace part of their consumption of high-calorie beef with a two-spore mushroom called Agaricus bisporus.

The results showed a reduced body mass index in members of the group who consumed mushrooms. Their abdominal circumference has decreased, while their feeling of fullness has increased, without actually eating reduced amounts of food. The study authors concluded that the two-spore mushrooms had anti-diabetic and anti-obesity effects.

It should be remembered that the main cause of obesity is an imbalance between calorie intake and calorie burning, which results from a complex interplay of hereditary and environmental influences. Only a balanced diet and physical activity will trigger fat burning.

Mushrooms are highly nutritious, rich in bioactive compounds that are antioxidant-rich ingredients, and can be of great help for those on a diet or trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle. The only drawback is that mushrooms are difficult to digest, so if you have stomach and intestinal problems, you should consult a specialist before eating them regularly.