5 Health Benefits Of Shiitake Mushrooms

Various types of Mushrooms on a tray

One of the most popular mushrooms available globally that you can find is shiitake. They are delicious, nutrient-dense. They are superfoods that should be considered to be added because of their essential vitamins, minerals and amino acid content.

They have numerous health benefits, including a strengthened immune system, improved cardiovascular health, and cancer prevention.

In this article, five health benefits of shiitake mushrooms and incorporating them into your routine will be discussed.

What Are Shiitake Mushrooms?

Shiitake mushrooms are edible fungi that grow naturally in East Asia. Shiitake mushrooms mostly come from Japan, but they can also be found in the United States, Singapore, China, and Canada.

These tan or dark brown vegetables are a good addition due to their adaptability. You can consume them in their fresh, dried, or supplementary forms.

Nutritional Profile

One thing that makes shiitake mushrooms great is that they are low in calories but highly nutritious. They are a good source of dietary fiber and vitamins from the B complex.

The following information is for half a cup (89 grams) of sliced shiitake mushrooms.

  • Calories: 30
  • Carbs: 6.0 grams
  • Fiber: 2.2 grams
  • Protein: 2.0 grams
  • Fats: 0.4 grams
  • Copper: 231% of the DV
  • Vitamin B5: 196% of the DV
  • Riboflavin: 65% of the daily value (DV)
  • Niacin: 65% of the DV
  • Selenium: 59% of the DV
  • Manganese: 53% of the DV
  • Zinc: 47% of the DV
  • Vitamin D: 35% of the DV

As you can see, shiitake mushrooms are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals. In addition, they have as many amino acids as meat. However, to get a good protein intake, you would need to include several servings of shiitake mushrooms.

Keep in mind that the nutritional composition of shiitake mushrooms may vary depending on their farming, storing, and preparation methods.

5 Health Benefits of Shiitake Mushrooms

Enhanced Immune Function

Evidence suggests that mushrooms may help improve immune function. It seems that shiitake mushrooms may help increase cells that can help fight against external agents. Thus improving your immune function.

In addition, shiitake mushrooms are high in zinc, a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation. And, according to research, zinc can also help increase cells that fight against external agents.

Anti-Cancer Properties

The polysaccharides found in shiitake mushrooms seem to have anticancer properties. According to studies, they may help fight tumors by enhancing immune function.

In addition, since shiitake mushrooms are high in antioxidants, they can help reduce oxidative stress, reducing the risk of cancer.

Better Heart Health

Since shiitake mushrooms are high in fiber, they may help reduce cholesterol levels. Three other compounds can also help lower cholesterol: eritadenine, sterols, and beta-glucans (a type of fiber).

Additionally, animal studies have shown that mice taking shiitake powder saw a reduction in blood pressure. However, more human studies are still needed to determine its effects on humans.

Improved Gut Health

Shiitake mushrooms may help improve your gut’s diversity and create an optimal environment for good bacteria to thrive. Since shiitake mushrooms are high in fiber, they act as food for the good bacteria in the gut. As a result, shiitake mushrooms may help improve digestion and promote good bowel function.

Increased Bone Strength

Mushrooms are a natural source of vitamin D. While most people think only of calcium for bone health, vitamin D also plays a crucial role in bone health.

However, one of the biggest issues is that vitamin D content may vary from mushroom to mushroom. Research shows that vitamin D levels are higher when exposed to higher levels of UV.

How To Include Shiitake Mushrooms In Your Routine

You can shiitake mushrooms as part of your meal or in supplement form.

Cooking With Shiitake Mushrooms

Using shiitake mushrooms in cooking can add an umami flavor to any dish. That is why they are typically described as meaty or flavorful. Fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms may be added to soups, sauces, stews, stir-fries, and other dishes.

Shiitake Mushrooms As Supplements

Traditionally, shiitake mushrooms have been used as part of traditional Chinese medicine. As we’ve seen throughout the article, they provide a number of health benefits and are believed to promote wellness and longevity.

The most widely used shiitake mushroom supplement is an extract known as AHCC. This product is produced from the cultivation of shiitake mushrooms (mostly mycelia). The supplement is a concentrated version of its active ingredients, such as alpha and beta-glucans for minerals and amino acids.

What makes AHCC supplements worth adding to your routine are its possible effect on immune function. Research suggests it may reduce the chances of HPV (human papillomavirus) and influenza.

Possible Side Effects

Even though shiitake mushrooms are considered to be harmless and usually well tolerated, some people may develop skin rashes after consuming raw shiitakes.

Moreover, others may develop digestive complications like bloating and stomach pains after ingestion in fresh or powdered form.

Final Words

Shiitake mushrooms have long been used to help improve health and overall wellness. For that reason, they can be used as food and a supplement.

While shiitake mushrooms have several health benefits, more human studies are needed to determine all possible benefits.

Still, shiitake mushrooms are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, all while adding a minimal amount of calories.


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