10 Foods That Contain Antibiotics

Shitake mushrooms are known for cancer- and bacteria-fighting abilities. Olha_Afanasieva/iStock/Thinkstock

To non-medical folks, it seems a little counterintuitive to turn to fungi to fight bacteria, right? As it turns out, mushrooms and their moldy brethren have a storied history of antimicrobial awesomeness. In fact, many major antibiotics, such as penicillin, tetracycline and streptomycin are actually derived from fungi. "In general, when we get actual antibiotics we are getting them from molds and fungi," Dr. Katz explains. "Mushrooms actually produce compounds that kill bacteria."

Modern research has confirmed the bacteria-fighting abilities of mushrooms, so add 'em to your next salad or sandwich for a healthy little kick. Be sure to choose an effective version, however. All mushrooms are not created medicinally equal, so stock up on heavy-hitters for best results. For example, the shitake variety is known for cancer, bacteria and virus-fighting capabilities, and is also an effective cholesterol regulator. Reishi mushrooms are similarly gifted, and also beloved for their impact on blood pressure regulation and anti-inflammatory abilities. For best results, select organic brands and stick with 'shrooms that grow on trees [sources: Williams, Mercola].

More to Explore