The world is starting to embrace the extraordinary benefits of organic Shiitake mushrooms. Although they may not be as rich in protein as animal products, they have attributes that make them uniquely special and worth considering as part of your nutritional plan. Best of all, they can help improve your everyday health. Modern science is just starting to wake up to understanding the benefits with new studies documenting the results of including Shiitake in your diet.
Let's look at some of the advantages of shiitake mushrooms, their different properties, and some ideas to best consume them.
Background of Shiitake
These blackish-brown mushrooms come from East Asian countries, including Japan, Thailand, Korea, and Vietnam. Traveling among these regions will make you realize they are a staple ingredient in miso soups, pho, and stir-fried dishes.
Conventional or Eastern medicine has long understood the benefits of mushrooms, and singled out shiitake mushrooms as a remedy for reducing excess mucous in the body and supporting increased blood flow. Although the majority of mushrooms are native to Japan, they are also being grown in North American regions. Most of the time, they grow naturally on hardwood trees that have been shed.
Nutritional Properties of Shiitake
The unique nutritional profile of shiitake mushrooms makes them highly beneficial for your health. These are very low in calories, rich in fiber, and they come with a high dose of vital minerals, which are not easily accessible in other foods. Taking only four shiitake mushrooms daily will yield around 40% of your copper RDA, 33% of the RDA of vitamin B5, and 10% of the RDA value of selenium. If the mushrooms are grown in ultraviolet lights, they will yield vitamin D in high amounts. Shiitake mushrooms also come with special components to improve the body’s immune system.
What's more amazing, Shiitake mushrooms come with lots of compounds that help prevent cancer. For example, terpenoids, polysaccharides, sterols, lipids, etc.
Best Way to Consume Shiitake Mushrooms?
To make the most out of the Shiitake you consume, you might want to get a fresh or dried form of these mushrooms. You might notice that the dried ones have a savior flavor. However, they are a bit chewy in texture.
You might also consider mushroom supplements in powdered or capsule form such as the ones sold by HPD Rx. Organic Shiitake mushroom is included in both AHCC and HPD Rx ONE. Capsules can be taken with water, smoothies, soups, and teas. Usually, a daily supplement intake of mushrooms contains the equivalent of three to eight mushrooms has no side effects. However, it is always best to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any nutritional supplement, especially if you have an underlying condition.
Health Benefits of Shiitake Mushrooms
There are a lot of benefits to adding shiitake mushrooms to your diet, and these are not only for taste and texture. Be it consumed in raw or dried form or consuming them in the form of mushroom supplements; you can get the best nutritional health benefits from shiitake mushrooms. Let’s see what science has to say about the benefits.
- Better Immune Response
The shiitake mushroom is highly helpful in the activation of the immune system of the body. It is the reason why people consider it to be highly helpful in improving immune response. For this reason, patients with autoimmune disorders might want to be specifically careful about its consumption as it may flare up their symptoms. Research also suggests that taking polysaccharides in these mushrooms might help support the immune system in helping it to prevent illness.
What’s more, these mushrooms contain generous amounts of zinc in them, which is a mineral known for its immune-boosting properties. Zinc also helps the body to fight different infections as well as oxidative stress, fighting off diseases related to age.
- Improves Cardiovascular Health
Research also indicates that around 30% of US citizens have high blood pressure. If this remains untreated, it might lead to cardiovascular conditions, including heart attack and stroke. Some animal-based studies also show that taking these mushrooms helps in the reduction of elevated blood pressure.
- Prevents and Fights Cancer and Metastasis
Shiitake mushrooms come with some special properties which make them good for preventing cancer formation in the body. Also, it is hinted they may play a helpful role in reducing the overall size of tumor cells. Studies also show that polysaccharides present in these mushrooms come with cancer-defeating properties. What's more, the activation of the body's natural immune system in itself is a helpful aid in fighting and preventing cancer.
Lentinan is a common compound found in these mushrooms, which is shown to decrease the growth of leukemia tumors and decrease their metastasis. Japanese and Chinese doctors prescribe this compound as a therapeutic intervention for blood cancers in an attempt to activate the immune response in the body. This is especially common against stomach cancer.
4. Improves Overall Energy Levels
B vitamins are found in high amounts in these mushrooms, especially niacin, which is known to play a beneficial role in improving overall wellness and energy production. Without the help of this vitamin, your body wouldn't be able to convert the food into the energy it requires to survive through the day. What's more, cellular growth and turnover are highly dependent on vitamin B. With niacin and other vitamin B types found in these mushrooms, you will be able to feel energized throughout the day.
- Decreases Chronic and Acute Inflammatory Response
Inflammation results in issues all over the body. Some common problems due to chronic inflammation include pain, acne, depression, anxiety, fatigue, weight gain, and issues related to the stomach. Foods that are heavily processed or contain high amounts of sugar, saturated or trans-fat, and salt contribute to this inflammation in the body.
Studies show that foods that are anti-inflammatory prevent and fight this inflammation. For example, shiitake mushrooms are highly anti-inflammatory in their nature and therefore are quite helpful in decreasing inflammation in the body. What's more, their property to activate the immune system will also help to fight against inflammation.
- Improves Hair and Skin Health
Shiitake mushrooms are specifically high in vitamin B5, which is also known to be pantothenic acid. Vitamin B5 is required by the body to utilize energy by absorbing carbs and proteins. What's more, it should also play a role in the improvement of skin as well as hair health. It is also known that topical applications of this vitamin might help in preventing thinning of hair. So, some people might consider using shiitake powder masks on their hair.
- Decreases Cholesterol Levels
There are special compounds present in these mushrooms, which are sterols, lipids, polysaccharides, and terpenoids. These compounds are known to lower the body's cholesterol. What's more, shiitake mushrooms contain enzymes known as beta-glucans, which are special fibers and enzymes for lowering cholesterol production levels in the body. These mushrooms also fight cholesterol, as shown in lab-animal studies. There is also a chance that they fight fatty liver disease as they decrease the levels of fat in the liver as well.
Adverse Effects of Mushrooms
On the whole, mushrooms are known to be quite safe when they are ingested in normal ratios. The safe serving size of these mushrooms includes three to eight mushrooms per day. A higher quantity of these mushrooms might result in exceedingly high health benefits, but they might come with some adverse effects. Your skin might become more sensitive to the sun, and your white blood cells might increase above the normal limit.
In rare cases, some people develop dermatitis upon consuming raw shiitake mushrooms. That means their bodies will trigger an immune response considering it to be an allergen resulting in an allergic reaction.
That is why it is preferred to consume cooked forms of these mushrooms rather than raw forms. A minority of the population consuming raw form of these mushrooms might develop that condition, which subsided in around two days.
Who Shouldn’t Consume Shiitake Mushrooms?
If you have an autoimmune disorder or have a high white blood cell count, you want to avoid Shiitake mushrooms. It is preferred not to consume these mushrooms in raw form, and they must be properly prepared.
Shiitake mushrooms are amazingly abundant in vitamins and minerals which makes them highly beneficial. With their chewy texture and savory flavor they serve as a perfect dietary choice. With benefits from improved immunity to increased energy levels, these can be consumed in many different forms and help support a healthier life.