16 June, 2021

Nutritional Benefits of Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms are dark brown to tan edible mushrooms that can be traced to East Asia. They have a cap that grows between 2 and 4 inches. They are typically fungi that you can find growing naturally on decaying trees but can be eaten like vegetables. You can find them dried, fresh, or in dietary supplements.

Shiitake mushrooms are typically low in calories, offer a good amount of fibre, vitamins, and other minerals. They also have amino acids, as you can find in meat. You can also find them having terpenoids, lipids, sterols, and polysaccharides which can lower cholesterol, have anti-cancer effects and improve the immune system.

In this article, you will learn the nutritional value of Shiitake mushrooms. Let's get started.

May Boost the Immune System

Regular consumption of shiitake may boost your immune system. In a study where people were given shiitake for a whole month every day, their inflammation levels dropped significantly, and the immune markers improved. According to one study, the positive effects on the immune system are associated with one polysaccharide found in shiitake.

Typically, it is normal for the Immune system to weaken with age. It was, however, discovered in a study that shiitake might help reverse some age-related decline in an individual's immune function.

May Promote Heart Health

Heart problems are common these days, and most people are out here looking for natural solutions. But, unfortunately, these problems are also linked to blood pressure issues. Shiitake may promote heart health and balance blood pressure by lowering cholesterol.

A study was conducted to investigate how shiitake influenced blood pressure, and it was found out that shiitake helps lower blood pressure. Three main bioactive compounds in the mushrooms help promote heart health;

  • Sterols - these are molecules that help block the gut from absorbing cholesterol.
  • Eritadenine - these compounds prevent the production of more cholesterol in the body by inhibiting the enzyme involved.
  • Beta-glucans - this is a fibre that lowers cholesterol levels.

May Promote Bone Development

Mushrooms are rich in vitamin D. While only a few foods have this vital nutrient, your bodies require vitamin D to develop strong bones. The vitamin D levels of shiitake vary depending on where and how they are grown. 

UV lights help develop this nutrient; mushrooms create higher vitamin D levels when exposed to UV light for a more extended period. Note that shiitake provides more vitamin D2 than D3. Generally, vitamins from shiitake help to promote bone development and increase its density as well.

Have Antiviral and Antibacterial Effects

Several bioactive compounds found in shiitake have antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial effects. Because of antibiotic resistance, scientists are exploring the antimicrobial potential of mushrooms. Isolated compounds from shiitake show antimicrobial activities in experiments, but that is yet to be confirmed in people.

Conclusion

The amount of bioactive substances in shiitake mushrooms varies depending on where and how the mushrooms are grown, harvested, stored, and prepared. Just like other natural compounds, there might be few side effects associated with shiitake consumption. For example, raw handling of this mushroom may result in rashes.

Shiitake mushrooms are often available in dried form. Soak them in warm water to soften them. Also, remember to look for those mushrooms sold whole rather than going for sliced ones.

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As lovers of mushrooms, we began as a small grower of oyster mushrooms in the Canberra and have now grown to producing a whole range of different mushroom products. 
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