Things to Remember about Shiitake Mushroom Health Benefits*
Quick: Name the mushroom you most recently ate. We bet we could guess which one it was in under three tries. Was it Shiitake? (We were close?) Why’d we guess that one, of all the mushrooms we love for your health?* Perhaps because Shiitake mushroom health benefits are numerous, and because they’re delicious!*
Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) mushrooms are second only to buttons/creminis/portobellos (all basically the same ‘shroom) when it comes to the fungi we eat.
Shiitake mushroom — aka the oak mushroom — is super delicious and packed with umami (aka yumminess). Named after the Japanese word for “oak” (shiia), they are delicate and tender when cooked fresh, but heartier and chewier if they were dried first. You can recognize a Shiitake by the brown cap and white or cream stem, serrated gills, and white spores.
More importantly for this blog, Shiitake mushroom health benefits are many.* Let’s run down the list of Shiitake mushroom health benefits.* First though, let’s get to know these mushrooms a bit better
Shiitake Mushrooms for Beginners
Shiitake has been used as food and in herbalism for thousands of years in Japan and China. These mushrooms prefer to pop up on fallen broadleaf trees across China, Japan, and other Asian countries with temperate climates. They also grow here in the US, and you can even grow them in your own backyard.
Turkey Tail is the most-studied mushroom, but the runner-up is Shiitake. It’s been used traditionally and in modern times to:
- support the immune system*
- support the liver (and promote healthy skin)*
- promote a healthy cardiovascular system.*
In addition to those Shiitake mushroom health benefits, there are plenty more!* Throughout history, both Chinese and Japanese herbalism used Shiitake mushrooms to support immune health.* We now know (thanks, modern science!) that Shiitake fruiting body extract (lentinan) supports white blood cells and offers antioxidant support for the immune system.*
More Shiitake Mushroom Health Benefits
Shiitakes are nutritious. They provide fiber, carbohydrates and protein, along with many essential vitamins and minerals.
Here’s what you get in four dried shiitake mushrooms:
11 grams carbohydrates
2 grams fiber
1 gram protein
Copper: 39% of the Daily Value
Folate: 6% DV
Manganese: 9% DV
Niacin: 11% DV
Riboflavin: 11% of DV
Selenium: 10% DV
Vitamin B5: 33% DV
Vitamin B6: 7% DV
Vitamin D: 6% DV
Zinc: 8% DV
Did you know that it’s not common to find vitamin D outside of animal products? This fat-soluble vitamin is essential for humans, so we need it, but our bodies can’t make it on their own. Mushrooms — including Shiitake — provide vitamin D, especially if they are exposed to UV light from the sun.
There are so many ways to enjoy Shiitake mushroom health benefits. Check out this blog post for some great recipe ideas!
Do you follow us on the ‘gram? You should! Head on over there and tell us what you learned about Shiitake mushroom health benefits. (And be sure to tag us in your ‘shroom shots.)
(1) Finimundy, T.C., Dillon, A.J.P., Henriques, J.A.P. and Ely, M.R. (2014) A Review on General Nutritional Compounds and Pharmacological Properties of the Lentinula edodes Mushroom. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 5, 1095-1105. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/fns.2014.512119
(2) Dai X, Stanilka JM, Rowe CA, et al. Consuming Lentinula edodes (Shiitake) Mushrooms Daily Improves Human Immunity: A Randomized Dietary Intervention in Healthy Young Adults. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2015;34(6):478‐487. doi:10.1080/07315724.2014.950391
(3) Keegan, R. J., Lu, Z., Bogusz, J. M., Williams, J. E., & Holick, M. F. (2013). Photobiology of vitamin D in mushrooms and its bioavailability in humans. Dermato-endocrinology, 5(1), 165–176. https://doi.org/10.4161/derm.23321.