If you get takeout from your favorite local Chinese restaurant this weekend, there’s a chance you might find shiitake mushrooms in your order. Shiitake mushrooms are native to China and Japan, but are now eaten worldwide. And it’s no surprise! With the rich flavor and shiitake mushroom benefits, they are a dietary powerhouse.
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In fact, they’ve been used as both food and medicine throughout East Asia for centuries. There are many ways to cook and eat shiitake mushrooms to fit any palate. And if the taste simply isn’t for you, that’s OK too. High-quality shiitake mushroom supplements can give you the benefits without the cooking. Here’s why you should seriously consider bringing these Asian edible mushrooms into your diet.
Nutritional Benefits of Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms, or Lentinus edodes, are a pretty amazing vegetable nutritionally. They are chock-full of nutrients and other benefits. Shiitake mushroom benefits include carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and fat. At the same time, they are also low-calorie. You don’t need to eat a lot of them to improve your nutritional intake.
The benefits of shiitake mushrooms also come from how they are structured. These medicinal mushrooms are made up of polysaccharides. Polysaccharides are complex carbohydrates that give you long-lasting energy. They also include beta-glucan enzymes, which are soluble fiber. Beta-glucans help you by blocking the absorption of cholesterol in your body. They may also aid your immune system by helping create chemicals that prevent infections.
Health Benefits of Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushroom benefits include a large variety of vitamins and minerals. Here is a list of the vitamins and minerals packed into shiitake mushrooms:
Lentinan is the chemical compound that makes up shiitake mushrooms. Some medical practitioners use lentinan to enhance the effects of other medicines. That said, there is not a lot of researched evidence to show how effective this practice is.
Vitamin B6 supports brain health. It strengthens the immune system by supporting the creation of white blood cells and T cells (the soldiers that fight off germs). It also helps the nervous system by supporting the creation of neurotransmitters, like serotonin and dopamine — two “feel-good” chemicals.
Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium. This means it’s a key component of keeping your bones strong and healthy and reduces your chances of developing osteoporosis.
Folate is important in the development of red blood cells. It helps them develop and function normally.
According to this study, eritadenine has been found to help lower cholesterol, making it a powerful tool in natural health management.
Selenium supports metabolism and thyroid function. It’s important in your body’s defense against infections and free radicals, or damaged cells that can damage other cells in your body.
Niacin is also known as vitamin B3, and it is one of the most important vitamins for your body. In fact, most of your systems and development require niacin, including your brain. It can also help lower cholesterol levels and improve arthritis symptoms.
Thiamine is also called vitamin B1. It helps you convert the food you eat from carbohydrates into energy.
Sterols may help you by reducing the amount of cholesterol that your body makes and absorbs through the foods you eat. Shiitake and maitake mushrooms have the most sterols of any mushrooms.
Copper is an important mineral used by your body to make red blood cells. Specifically, it helps your body keep its immune function and nerve cells healthy. Copper may also help you absorb iron and protect you from free radicals.
Other Health Benefits
Shiitake mushrooms also have manganese, riboflavin, amino acids, calcium, vitamin B5, vitamin D2, and potassium. Shiitake mushrooms are also anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, which help make your body less prone to infections and disease.
Shiitake mushrooms may help people who have a high-fat diet. In one study, rats who ate a high-fat diet and shiitake mushrooms gained less weight than rats who did not have shiitake mushrooms in their diet.
Shiitake Mushrooms Are Easy to Include in Your Diet
The advantages of shiitake mushrooms are so numerous, they can make you want to include them in your diet every day. Good news! Like most vegetables, you can eat shiitake mushrooms regularly. The earthy flavor and “meaty” texture make them a key ingredient in many dishes.
One of the chemical compounds in shiitake mushrooms is umami. Umami is one of the five tastes we notice in food (sweet, salty, bitter, and sour are the others).
Most foods have one predominant taste, and umami is what people taste in mushrooms. Umami flavor comes from monosodium glutamate. It’s the savory flavor that is common in meats and broths. You can find umami in soups, stir-fries, and even some cheeses. Umami gives a rich, satisfying taste that produces saliva in our mouths to help us digest protein.
Shiitake Mushroom Cooking Ideas
Shiitake mushroom benefits can be found in both raw shiitake and dried shiitake, and you can use both in your cooking.
Because of their umami flavor, shiitakes can be added to almost any savory dish. You can incorporate them into your diet easily. Here are some cooking ideas:
- Added to soups
- Sliced over salad
- Eaten raw
The Easiest Way to Get Shiitake Mushroom Benefits
If you’re ready to enjoy shiitake mushroom benefits but don’t have the time to incorporate them into your meals every day, you’re in luck! You can take a shiitake mushroom supplement that contains the antioxidants that support heart health and overall well-being.
Medicinal mushroom supplements can be in liquid or powder form. Shroom for Immunity Functional Mushroom Powder and Functional Mushroom Capsules have shiitake mushroom extract to give you the best sources of vitamins to benefit your health. The blends incorporate five functional mushrooms, so you get benefits from several types of medicinal mushrooms.
The powder is super easy to incorporate into your routine. You can stir it into your morning coffee or tea, or toss it in the blender with your daily smoothie. The capsules are just as simple to add to your supplement routine. Just take them with some water to help break down the vegan capsule shell.
Another option is the Antioxidant Boost Functional Mushroom Tincture. The tincture supports your immune system and your body’s ability to combat free radicals. It can also help improve signs of aging. You can add the recommended dose of tincture to a beverage, or you can use the dropper to take it sublingually (i.e., under the tongue).
The Energy Boost Functional Mushroom Tincture also contains the power of shiitake mushrooms. Because shiitake mushrooms are such a good source of vitamins and minerals, this tincture gives you sustainable energy during your day.
Side Effects of Shiitake Mushrooms
Even though eating mushrooms regularly can be part of a healthy diet, there are some side effects that go along with shiitake mushroom benefits. For some people, eating large amounts of medicinal mushrooms can cause gastrointestinal distress.
For others, an allergic reaction called shiitake dermatitis can occur. Shiitake dermatitis is a skin rash that comes in the shape of streaks or lines on the skin. According to this study, it affects around 2% of the population when they consume raw or undercooked shiitake mushrooms.
If you’ve never eaten them before but want to start, go slowly.
Shiitake Mushroom Benefits with a Conscience
The benefits of medicinal mushrooms like shiitake mushrooms make them an important part of your diet. But if you struggle to consume enough raw or cooked vegetables, or want the quick convenience, a mushroom supplement is the way to go.
With Way of Will’s selection of supplements, you do not need to choose between the powerful benefits of mushrooms or protecting the environment. Way of Will’s products are ethically sourced. All of the products are also made without synthetic or harmful fillers. That means you know you’re putting pure and clean ingredients into your body.
Try one of the tinctures or powders to start improving your well-being today.