Shiitake mushrooms are native to Japan. These medium-sized mushrooms have a soft consistency and a pleasant and delicate taste that recalls that of the Porcino mushrooms.
They have always been used in the millenary oriental tradition for their countless properties. They are widely used in traditional oriental medicine and there are numerous publications in which the antioxidant, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties of these mushrooms, sometimes also referred to as a natural “viagra”, are recognized and discussed.
Shiitake are today among the most cultivated, consumed and appreciated mushrooms in the world for their culinary characteristics combined with their important nutritional virtues. These mushrooms have a high nutritional value, contain all the essential amino acids and are an excellent source of vitamins, especially vitamin D and B. Like all mushrooms, they are rich in minerals such as iron, manganese, potassium, calcium, magnesium. These characteristics make them an excellent food supplement for anyone and they are also taken in powdered form with this goal.
In the kitchen they are very versatile and they can be incorporated into a large variety of dishes just like other mushrooms. As they are becoming more and more popular due to their nutritional value, you can find shiitake mushrooms in most grocery stores, both fresh and dried, and you may even think about growing them yourself.
When buying your shiitake make sure they are firm and meaty. Kept in a closed bag or an airtight container in the fridge, they can also be kept for a week if you do not intend to consume them immediately.
The stems are slightly fibrous to eat compared to the hat, so better cut them very fine or rather use them in soups or other preparations in which they can cook for a long time, absorb liquids and soften.
7 BENEFITS OF SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS
As the saying goes, “You are what you eat”. As a nutritional intake, it therefore makes sense that Shiitake mushrooms can support and improve our overall health in a variety of beneficial ways.
- Boosts Immune System: There are numerous antioxidants found in shiitake mushrooms, along with vitamin C, which is well known for its effects on the immune system. More importantly, certain molecules found in shiitake mushrooms can improve the effectiveness of our immune system and speed up its response time to allergens and other potentially harmful substances.
- Aid for healthy growth and tissue repair: In addition to vitamin C, one of the most important components of collagen is copper. Collagen is necessary for the creation of all tissues; therefore muscles, bones, blood vessels and our skin. Since shiitake mushrooms are a very rich source of copper, their intake can certainly increase the growth and repair of our cells.
- Boost Vitality & Enhance Brain Function: Shiitake mushrooms are an excellent source of B vitamins among others. These help support adrenal function and convert nutrients from food into usable energy. They have been shown to help balance hormones naturally by helping us stay focused, therefore improving our cognitive performance.
- A generous supply of vitamin D: Although vitamin D is best obtained from the sun, shiitake mushrooms can also provide a decent amount of this essential vitamin for us. This vitamin is particularly good for bone health, as well as reducing the risk of suffering from heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and some cancers. Not only Shiitakes, but mushrooms in general are among the foods richest in vitamin D in proportion.
- Perfect supplements for those who follow vegan or vegetarian diets: Shiitake mushrooms offer several nutrients that are particularly interesting for those who choose not to eat meat and fish, helping to reduce the risk of deficiencies. Shiitake mushrooms are a good source of zinc which is typically found in red meat, poultry, and seafood. A plate of cooked shiitake mushrooms contains nearly half of your daily zinc requirement.
- Supports Digestive and Gut Health: The fibers found in shiitake mushrooms are prebiotics that can support digestive and gut health. Gut health is also associated with immune system health and mental well-being. It is essential to keep inflammation in the digestive tract at bay to maintain optimal health.
- Lower cholesterol: According to some studies, some compounds in shiitake mushrooms can inhibit the production of cholesterol in the liver and prevent plaque buildup on the walls of arteries and blood vessels. The antioxidant effects of these mushrooms are linked to lower overall cholesterol levels, as well as a faster metabolism. Additionally, the same compounds can prevent blood clotting, further improving cardiovascular health.