What is a shiitake mushroom

Because of their rich taste and many health benefits one of the most popular edible mushrooms worldwide are the Shiitake mushrooms (latin Lentinula edodes). They’re native to East Asia, brown-capped mushrooms, the caps of which can grow between 2 and 4 inches (5 and 10 cm). They grow naturally on hardwood trees and you can find them both dried and fresh, or in many dietary supplements. Typically they’ve been eaten as vegetables.

Shiitake is very low in calories and offers the body good amounts of vitamins B5/B6/D, fiber, manganese, selenium, zinc and folate. In addition, this mushroom contains a couple of the same amino acids as meat. Other benefits are that Shiitake can boast polysaccharides, terpenoids, sterols, and lipids, some of which are very important for our immune system.

What is Shiitake application

Mushrooms can be used mainly as whole food and as supplements.

Both dried and fresh shiitake are suitable for cooking, but the dried ones are more popular. One of the reasons is that the dried ones have umami (meaty or savory) flavor, which is more intense. Both dried and fresh shiitake are used in many dishes including stews, stir-fries, soups, stews, etc.

As for their use as supplements, for centuries shiitake mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese, Japanese and Korean medicine. In China they are most popular as health and longevity boosters, and are used to improve blood circulation.

Shiitake as cholesterol reducer

As for their impact of the body, Shiitake mushrooms can improve heart health. For instance, their three compounds – eritadenine, sterols and beta glucans can help lower cholesterol. The eritadenine helps in slowing down the production of cholesterol. The sterols are actually molecules which block the cholesterol absorption in human body. And the beta glucans can reduce cholesterol.

Shiitake as immune booster

It has been proven that if a person eats two dried shiitake mushrooms daily, as a result, after one month, his immune marks improve. This effect may be partly because of the polysaccharides in shiitake which also might have an anticancer effect. For instance, by activating the immune system, this mushroom helps against tumors.

Other shiitake benefits

It can fight infections.

Strengthen bones and promotes bone health

Has antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial effect. One of the supposed benefits is that shiitake can have antimicrobial potential.

It is the only plant that provides vitamin D to the body

Possible side effects

Although, most people can consume shiitake without any problem, there can be some side effects. Very rare person can develop a skin rash, known as shiitake dermatitis, get his stomach upset or become sensitive to sunlight.

In conclusion

Shiitake mushrooms are definitely a natural treasure which can benefit human health in many ways. Although, there are very few studies which show us what can be the results from their consumption.

However, if you want to boost your immune system by providing many minerals, vitamins and plant compounds to your body, shiitake mushroom is a perfect addition to your diet.




Please keep in mind at all times that none of the content published on the “Mushrooms Health” Foundation website constitutes any form of health or medical advice or recommendation. The information on our website is valid for a cumulative number of cases, and cannot be viewed as any type or form of medical advice. We insist that you consult a medical professional if you have any type of diagnosed medical condition, or have reasons to believe you have an undiagnosed one. The “Mushrooms Health” Foundation team is hereby released of any responsibility for any damages, direct or indirect, which may arise out of applying or failing to apply any information published on this website.

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