Plums, Prunes and Mushrooms Boast Health Benefits
April 18, 2005
Plums, prunes and mushrooms provide high-quality protein, vitamins, unsaturated fatty acids and fiber. Recent studies at the University of Illinois analyzed the precise carbohydrate breakdown of these foods as well.

U of I Professor of animal sciences George Fahey and a doctoral student Cheryl Dikeman reported on the complete carbohydrate profiles of plums, prunes and six mushroom varieties.

High concentrations of a compound called chitin that lowers cholesterol were found in raw mushrooms. The level fell when the mushrooms were cooked , but Fahey says that relatively small amounts of chitin are required to provide cardiovascular benefits.

Plums and prunes, which are known to be good sources of dietary fiber, and portabella mushrooms, were found to have high total concentrations of compounds that promote the development of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

Fahey says that this information will allow people to choose the mushrooms and forms of plums and prunes that provide the dietary punch they may be needing and food scientists will be able to choose the best preparation strategies to achieve maximum health benefits.