The waist-shrinking food hiding in the produce aisle

If you’re trying to lose weight there’s an important, tasty, nutritious, waist-shrinking food you could be ignoring that you can use to boost fat loss.

I’m talking about mushrooms. And right now you’re probably making a face wondering what kind of funny mushrooms I’ve been eating.

Well, I’ve been eating some shiitakes and portabellas – and loving it. These have important immune system-boosting benefits you need as well as an important place in just about any weight-loss regimen.

A wealth of studies show that mushrooms keep the immune system functioning at its peak. In lab tests, those white button mushrooms that are the most common mushrooms found at the supermarket have even been shown to help fight off salmonella food poisoning.

As for weight loss – a year-long study at the Weight Management Center at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, demonstrated that dieters who cut back a little on their meat consumption and, instead, at three meals per week, substituted a cup of mushrooms, lost and kept off an average of seven pounds. They also reduced their waistlines by an average of 2.6 inches. Their body fat came down, on average, by 0.85 percent.

Mushrooms contain plenty of nutrients, many of which haven’t even been identified yet, that help the heart and the rest of the body function at their peaks. Chemical analysis shows that they are rich in fibers that feed the probiotic bacteria in your intestines and make you feel full. The fiber in mushrooms includes chitin and beta-glutan, which have been shown to protect the cardiovascular system.

So if you’ve been buying dietary powders and “slimming” bars at the grocery whose packages claim they can help you lose weight, but you’ve been unhappy with the results, make a detour to the produce aisle. Your waistline will be glad you did.

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Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.