About Shiitake Mushrooms - The Medicinal Mushroom
The Shiitake mushroom is a quirky looking fungus. If you did a double take upon reading the word fungus, you probably were not the only one. Mushrooms are commonly believed to be vegetables and are treated as such in the kitchen. Truth be told, Mushrooms are simply edible fungi!
This Asian delicacy is enriched with a unique smoky flavor, an exotic aroma which the Chinese allude to by calling it the ‘fragrant mushroom’, and widely recognized and trusted medicinal properties. Did you know that shiitake cultivation via mushroom spores began way back in 960 A.D.? We’ve all wondered how the Chinese defy aging while we go on a rampage looking for the best anti-aging products. Well, Shiitake mushrooms might just be the secret to their youthful appearance!
Shiitake mushrooms are also known as Chinese black mushrooms, golden oak mushrooms and black forest mushrooms. This striking little mushroom has steadily gained popularity worldwide due to credible scientific research which has proved that the shiitake should be an indispensable part of every diet!
Shiitake Mushrooms Nutritional Information
So you’ve had your daily requirement of fruit and indulged in your favorite fresh green vegetables. You are on the right track! Just add a helping of shiitake mushrooms to that mix to earn the perfect package of wholesome nutrients.
Here is why we insist that these mushrooms should be a part of your diet: 141.75 grams of shiitake mushrooms are infused with a powerhouse of exceptional nutrients and vitamins that keep your body fit and healthy! 141.75 grams contains 27.5% of Vitamin B3, 21.3% of Vitamin B5, 21% of Vitamin B6, 18.2% of Vitamin B2 and 7%of Vitamin D.
Important minerals housed in the shiitake include 16.5% of manganese, 15.8% of phosphorus, 12.3% of potassium, 11.5% of selenium, 10% of copper, 9.7% of zinc and 7% of magnesium. This extensive inventory of minerals and vitamins gives shiitake mushrooms their medicinal and therapeutic qualities.
Shiitake mushrooms also contain a considerable quantity of protein (6.3%). Don’t be misled into believing that such a hefty list of nutrients must also entail am equally hefty calorie count. 141.75 grams of shiitake mushrooms only contain 48 calories!
Health Benefits Of Shiitake Mushrooms
Let’s take a look at the health benefits that your body derives from the nutritional content of these delicious shiitake mushrooms:
Good For Your Heart!
Research shows that shiitake mushrooms contain an unusual compound called d-Eritadenine (DEA). DEA works wonders in the cholesterol reduction department and is scientifically recognized as an agent that effectively reduces the blood cholesterol level. Cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis constitute a major risk to heart health. Shiitake mushrooms contain substances that prevent a process known as adhesion molecule production from taking place. This prevention helps to protect the blood vessels, and in effect, keeps the body safe from grave cardiovascular diseases.
A Rich Source Of Anti-oxidants!
Shiitake mushrooms contain zinc, manganese and selenium, three active antioxidant minerals. They also contain a host of other unique phytonutrient antioxidants. These powerful antioxidants combine to prevent the effects of chronic oxidative stress from damaging the body. Chronic oxidative stress, if left unchecked, can lead to clogged arteries and damaged blood vessels.
Good For Your Immune System!
Shiitake mushrooms have a distinctive set of compounds which allow them to affect the immune system in two unique ways: they can enhance the immune system when required, and suppress its activity if needed. These mushrooms also contain polysaccharides. The documented health benefits of polysaccharides include a decrease in the cholesterol levels and a reduction in stress levels.
Protection From Cancer!
Shiitake mushrooms are home to naturally occurring substances that enhance the activity of certain anti-cancer cells in the immune system. Among other things, these cells, known as macrophages, are responsible for eradicating potential cancer cells from the body. Research suggests that regular consumption of these mushrooms can help prevent colon cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer. Shiitake mushrooms also contain certain ‘anti-tumor mycochemicals’ which speedily inhibit tumor growth in the body.
Look Young, Feel Great!
Shiitake mushrooms are known to contain naturally occurring substances that act as anti-aging agents. These substances keep the skin looking fresh, smooth and wrinkle-free! So stop spending money on expensive, unnatural anti-aging products. Opt for a regular dose of shiitake mushrooms instead!
Possible Ways To Enjoy The Shiitake Mushrooms
When purchasing shiitake mushrooms makes sure that they are firm to touch. Mushrooms with blotches, stains or slimy patches should not be bought! Before using the mushrooms, wipe them clean with a damp paper towel. Do not use too much water as the mushrooms will absorb the extra moisture and become soggy and unappetizing.
Shiitake mushrooms can be added to soups to give them that extra zing. They can also be sautéed with onions and garlic, and other ingredients of your choice, and served as a topping for your delectable chicken or beef dish. Sautéed mushrooms are highly recommended. This cooking technique not only enhances their flavor, but also keeps their nutritional content intact!
Did you know that mushroom tea, made from the extracts of medicinal mushrooms such as shiitake and reishi, has numerous health benefits? The tea is usually mixed with other drinks to eliminate any strong, unpleasant tastes that the mushroom extract might have.
Possible Health Concerns
Shiitake mushrooms contain purine. Those individuals who are vulnerable to purine related health problems should refrain from having shiitake mushrooms as consumption can lead to gout or kidney stone formation due to uric acid accumulation in the body.