Although many of us have begun to hear its new name, Shiitake is a type of mushroom that has been known for centuries for its benefits and is widely used in ancient medicine, especially in the Far East. Its name is coming from the Japanese words “take” means “mushroom” and “shii” means the tree in which this mushroom grows.
Shiitake is the second most consumed mushroom variety in the world and also is very rich in terms of protein content. The dark brown color and textured structure are the most prominent characteristics of this mushroom and it can grow from 5 to 10 centimeters.
Commonly grown in Far Eastern countries and wildly in the tropical regions of Asia, Shiitake can be grown by grafting in rare cases since the early 2000s. Because of this endemic behaviour, people interested in plant breeding as a hobby often prefer to breed this mushroom.
In addition to vitamins and minerals, Shiitake comes to the forefront with its antiviral, anti-inflammatory and even antifungal properties. It’s widely preferred in traditional medicine to help fight against inflammation, tumor formation, harmful bacteria, viruses and for many other amazing benefits. Aside from all that Shiitake is rich in vitamins B2, B5, B6 and also plays an effective role in reducing cholesterol levels and strengthening the immune cells called macrophages.
Helps To Prevent Heart Diseases
With only one portion, Shiitake can meet our daily copper need and is a strong enemy of coronary heart diseases. Such diseases develop especially in the case of lack of copper in the body and since copper isn’t naturally produced in our bodies, it must be supplied from copper-rich foods.
It prevents the cells from sticking to the blood vessel walls and therefore prevents plaque formation and also helps to regulate blood pressure and circulation.
A Strong Source Of Antioxidants
Shiitake mushroom alone can meet 52% of our daily need for pantothenic acid and 51% of our selenium need. With riboflavin, niacin, zinc, manganese and ergothioneine content, it also fights the negative effects of oxidative stress on our bodies.
Fights Against Cancer Cells
Studies on a protein called lentinan underline the properties of cancer prevention. In a study, it was observed that tumor growth was slowed in cancer patients treated with lentinan. Another study revealed the protective effects of shiitake fungus spores on the liver and the preventive effects against cancer in patients with chronic hepatitis. Finally, in another study, researches have found that the lentinan protein in the Shiitake mushroom helps to improve the chromosome damage caused by the drugs used in cancer-preventive therapies and can be used for natural cancer treatment.
Shiitake contains substances with hypolipidemic (fat-reducing) properties like eritadenine and beta-glucan. According to several studies, Shiitake contains several substances (especially beta-glucan) that reduce food intake by creating a feeling of fullness, delays the absorption of nutrients and lowers plasma lipid levels to help fight obesity.
According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Obesity, researches have observed that the mice fed mostly with Shiitake mushroom gained 35% less weight than the mice fed with other nutrients.
High In Vitamin D
Although the sunlight essential for vitamin D, Shiitake mushrooms are also an effective vitamin D supplement as much as all other fungi. Vitamin D slows osteoarthritis progression, helps to improve bone health, reduces the risk of heart attacks, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and certain types of cancer and also is necessary for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus into the body.
Strong Antimicrobial Properties
In a study conducted at the UCL Eastman Dental Institute in 2011, compared the effects of Shiitake mushroom on gingivitis against chlorhexidine-containing drugs used for the treatment of gum diseases. After the treatment, total bacteria numbers in the mouth were examined. The results indicated that chlorhexidine-containing drugs have a limited effect on all organisms, while Shiitake mushroom reduces the number of pathogenic organisms without damaging the healthy cells.
Supports The Immune System
Like all other edible and useful mushroom species, Shiitake has immune-enhancing properties and also helps combat many diseases with its vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
In a study published in 2015 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researches examined the effect of Shiitake on the immune system in 52 healthy men and women aged 21 to 41. Participants were divided into two groups and used 5 to 10 grams of mushrooms daily. According to the research results, Shiitake strengthens the immunity of our intestines and has cell balancing functions.
Improves Brain Functions
As a wonderful source of vitamin B, Shiitake supports adrenal functions by naturally regulating the hormones and helps to transform nutrients into usable energy sources.
Good For Your Skin
When Selenium is taken together with vitamin A and E supplements, it helps reduce the occurrence of acne and acne-related scars. In 100 grams of shiitake mushroom, there is 5.7 mcg of selenium and this is sufficient to meet 8% of your daily selenium need. Thus, it can be used as a natural acne treatment.
|Nutrition Facts||100 g||% Daily Value*|
|Niacin||3.877 mg||19 %|
|Pantothenic acid||1.500 mg||15 %|
|Riboflavin||0.217 mg||13 %|
|Vitamin B6||0.293 mg||15 %|
|Manganese, Mn||0.230 mg||12 %|
|Phosphorus, P||112.00 mg||11 %|
|Selenium, Se||5.7 mcg||8 %|
|Proteins||2.24 g||4 %|
|Carbohydrate||6.79 g||2 %|
|Fiber||2.5 g||10 %|
|Fat||0.49 g||1 %|
*Per cent Daily Values are built on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your metabolism.
When buying Shiitake, make sure that the mushroom doesn’t have any wrinkle on it. You can store it in an airtight container for one week and if you have purchased dried mushrooms you can store it in the refrigerator for up to one year.
If you prefer to wash before eating rather than wiping with a moisturized cloth, it’s useful not to keep the Shiitake in the water for too long due to its porous structure and sautéing it is the most delicious method to preserve both flavor and nutritional values.