Shiitake is native to Asia with a rich history of use in the kitchen and in herbs. In the 12th century, Shiitake mushroom cultivation began in the mountains of central China. A delicious and aromatic mushroom, Shiitake is currently the second most commonly grown mushroom in the world. Each part of the Shiitake mushrooms has unique health benefits and serve different purposes for the organism, but it’s the fruiting body that gets the most attention and is most familiar. Since the 1970s, the Japanese Mushroom industry has supported extensive research on Shiitake’s nutritional and immune support properties.
1. The active ingredient in Shiitake
Shiitake mushrooms are very nutritious foods because they contain many nutrients and minerals necessary for the body:
- Carbs: Most of the calories in shiitake mushrooms are from carbohydrates, 3 grams of which come from beneficial fiber. There are also 5.6 grams of natural sugar in 1 cup of cooked shiitake mushrooms. The mushroom’s glycemic index is between 10 and 15, making them a low blood sugar food.
- Fat: There is almost no fat in shiitake mushrooms. However, if you cook them in oil or butter, it is best to have a heart-healthy option like olive oil, your fat intake will increase.
- Protein: Shiitake mushrooms contain some protein (2.3 grams per cooked cup). Although they are not a major source of this macronutrient, they provide all the essential amino acids.
- Vitamins and minerals: There are several vitamins and minerals in shiitake mushrooms. Some shiitake mushrooms are enriched through UV-B to provide vitamin D. Natural Shiitake mushrooms also contain zinc, manganese, and some B vitamins.
- In addition, Lentinan and Lentinula Edodes mycelium (LEM) are also the two main substances that make up the pharmacological effects of Shiitake mushrooms.
2. Top 4 Shiitake mushrooms health benefits
2.1 Shiitake mushrooms health benefits: Promote cardiovascular health
✅ Shiitakes contain phytonutrients that have the potential to help reduce the risk of plaque formation in the blood vessels, maintain blood pressure, and improve circulation. Shiitake mushrooms are good for the heart thanks to compounds that help lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
- Eritadenine: a compound that helps inhibit enzymes involved in the production of cholesterol
- Sterol: a molecule that helps prevent the intestine from absorbing cholesterol
- The beta-glucan (a type of soluble fiber) in shiitake mushrooms is helpful for lowering cholesterol.
- Shiitake mushrooms are low in natural sodium and have no saturated fat, so this is a heart-healthy food, especially when used as a substitute for processed meat. At the same time, the potassium in shiitake mushrooms is also beneficial for lowering blood pressure.
2.2 Shiitake mushrooms health benefits: Immune system support
✅ A cup of cooked shiitake mushrooms contains more than the daily amount of copper needed for most adults. Copper is important for the immune system, supporting the creation and functioning of various immune cells, including T cells, neutrophils, phagocytes, B lymphocytes, and antibodies.
✅ Shiitake mushrooms have a good antimicrobial effect thanks to oxalic acid, lentinan, centinamycins A and B (antibacterial), and eritadenine (antiviral). A 2011 study at UCL Eastman Dental Academy in the UK examined the antibacterial effects of shiitakes on gum disease. The efficacy of shiitakes was compared to the active ingredient in the leading mouthwash in gingivitis, which contains chlorhexidine. Results showed that shiitake extract reduced the number of pathogenic organisms without affecting beneficial organisms.
2.3 Shiitake mushrooms health benefits: Preventing cancer
✅ Numerous studies show that shiitakes work to prevent tumor growth when tested in animals. According to a study, shiitakes contain a special chemical called AHCC – a compound that mixes amino acids, polysaccharides, and minerals, which boosts the immune system by increasing the number of cells, help the body fight infections and prevent the growth of tumors. In addition, the lentinan in shiitake mushrooms can prevent and slow the growth of cancer by activating certain cells and proteins that attack the disease but without causing any side effects.
✅ A 2019 study tracking more than 36,000 men in Japan between the ages of 40 and 79 shows a correlation between mushroom consumption and a lower incidence of prostate cancer. However, this effect on humans needs more research.
2.4 Shiitake mushrooms health benefits: Improve the nutrition of vegetarians
- Shiitake mushrooms provide a number of nutrients of interest to vegetarians, helping to reduce the risk of deficiency. Shiitake mushrooms are a good source of zinc. Zinc is often found in red meat, poultry, and seafood. Because a cup of cooked shiitake mushrooms has almost 2 milligrams of zinc, it helps contribute to the daily goal of 8 to 11 milligrams daily.
- Shiitake mushrooms provide all the essential amino acids, which are the synthesis of proteins in the body. Protein deficiency is a problem for vegetarians due to the reduction of meat and fish in the diet.
- Shiitake mushrooms are a very important source of B vitamins, which help support adrenal function and convert nutrients from food into energy for use. Add this mushroom to your diet to provide B vitamins to avoid deficiency.
- Under the effect of ultraviolet rays in the sun, the ergosterol in shiitake will convert to vitamin D2 – the vitamin that contributes to stronger bones (osteoporosis due to lack of Calcium and vitamin D is also a problem. important of vegetarians). Adequate intake of vitamin D also helps regulate and support the immune system, maintain body weight, maintain brain function, reduce the severity of asthma symptoms, and reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in women.
3. Notes when using Shiitake
✅ It is a very benign food and there are very few side effects to the body. In rare cases, some people will have a rash when eating or contacting shiitakes due to lentinan on the surface of the mushroom. If you are concerned about shiitake allergies, consult your health care provider to check for allergies. In addition, using the mushroom powder for a long time can cause a number of side effects including abdominal pain, photosensitivity, and dermatitis.
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