Shiitake mushrooms are probably among your mainstays in your kitchen for a number of uses, whether you enjoy throwing them in a stir-fry, risotto, or risotto pie. As a superfood powerhouse, shiitake mushrooms may boost immune system health, support cardiovascular health, and more.
The History of the Shiitake Mushroom
Shiitake is a common Japanese name for Lentinula edode. It is derived from a mushroom associated with the Shii tree. Although Japan is a global leader in production of this species of mushroom, it has been used for both food and medicine for thousands of years in other countries of the Far East, and cultivation is said to have originated in China in the Sung Dynasty. In 1620, the Ming Dynasty’s Wu-Rui wrote that Shiitake mushrooms “accelerate vital energies, stave off hunger, treat colds, and overcome bodily fluid energies”. In the years since, researchers have discovered the mushrooms really have excellent nutritional and medical values, boasting high levels of macronutrients, heavy fiber content, B vitamins, and minerals like copper, selenium, manganese, zinc, and folate.
Superfood Credentials of Shiitake Mushroom
Shiitake is well-known as an exceptional culinary mushroom with a rich, savory taste and low caloric content but it’s now becoming increasingly recognized for its significant therapeutic properties. In addition to the vitamins and minerals mentioned above, shiitake mushrooms also contain naturally occurring bioactive polysaccharides, such as b-D-glucans, which have been associated with improving immunity, cardiovascular health and skin health.
The unique composition of this functional mushroom has been shown to satiate hunger, which can support weight management and help reduce the accumulation of fat in the liver. Shiitake mushrooms have also been shown to help ward off illness with antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. In a University of Florida study, researchers found that participants who ate a cooked shiitake mushroom every day for four weeks enjoyed increased immunity with better-functioning gamma delta T-cells and reductions in inflammatory proteins. New research on the properties of active ingredients in shiitake mushrooms include applications ranging from oral health products to detoxification support.
Who Should Take Shiitake Mushrooms?
The dietary value and immune-supporting effects of Shiitake mushrooms make it an ideal choice for those seeking a holistic approach to health. However, they can be particularly helpful to people who are struggling to keep their weight in check, or to people who have an easily compromised immune system. With the demands of a busy modern life, our immune systems can be taken to task, but shiitake mushrooms may help to bolster your natural defences. Whether you are using shiitake mushrooms for cooking purposes or taking them as a supplement, certified organic Shiitake mushroom superfood powder may be just what you need.
A Shiitake supplement or powder can be easily added to your favorite drinks or recipes to take advantage of your body’s natural protections from pathogens.