If you want to remove or reduce meat from your diet, mushrooms like shiitake are a good option. Although they don’t contain a lot of protein, they have enough that is healthy for your body plus they’re very tasty with a flavor of beef. Apart from the great taste, some amazing shiitake mushroom benefits support good health.
Shiitake mushrooms are very popular mushrooms in Asia and worldwide and are known for their rich, savory taste and amazing health benefits. They also provide medicinal properties that help in supporting various bodily functions.
That contains antiviral, anticancer, antifungal, and antibacterial properties that help in protecting your body from diseases, infections, and inflammation. You can easily incorporate shiitake mushrooms in your daily diet to get all the health benefits that come with eating mushrooms.
What is a shiitake mushroom?
These are edible mushrooms that are mostly grown in East Asia and they have a tan to dark brown color with caps that can grow between 2-4 inches. Shiitake grows as fungi on dead and decaying hardwood.
You can eat them like a veggie either fresh or dried and as a supplement. Shiitake has been used for centuries by the Chinese and Japanese as a traditional medicine in treating different ailments like high cholesterol, flu, and the common cold. It’s an adaptogenic mushroom that helps your body to adapt and cope with different physical, psychological, and environmental stressors.
It’s a nutritious mushroom that contains vitamin C, copper, B vitamins, calcium, and iron. It’s low in calories and contains many of the amino acids in meat and is packed with vitamins, minerals, and other chemical compounds that protect your DNA from oxidative damage.
Shiitake is unique because it contains all the 8 essential amino acids and also linoleic acid which is an essential fatty acid that helps in building muscles and weight loss. It’s also good for improving your digestion, reducing food allergies and sensitivities, and building your bones.
Shiitake mushrooms benefits
Boost your immune system
The high nutrient content in shiitake mushrooms that include vital enzymes, vitamins, and minerals makes it a very powerful immune booster and helps in fighting many diseases. Regular consumption of shiitake will help improve your cell effector function and gut immunity. The polysaccharides in shiitake can also help in supporting your immune system and protecting you against diseases and illnesses. This mushroom also contains a good dose of zinc that helps to fight infection and oxidative stress as well as keeping away age-related diseases.
Inflammation causes many problems in your body including weight gain, acne, fatigue, joint pain, depression, anxiety, and gut problems. Foods that are high in fat, sodium, and sugar and heavily processed foods contribute to chronic inflammation, but fruits and veggies with anti-inflammatory properties can help your body fight back. Shiitake can help fight inflammation by supporting your body’s response to inflammation and your immune system.
Help fight obesity
Shiitake contains fat reducing compounds like eritadenine and b-glucan which is a soluble dietary fiber that you can also find in oats and barley. B-glucan can help in increasing satiety, reduce fat levels, reduce food intake, and delay the absorption of nutrients in your body.
Support healthy skin and hair
The same way your body needs niacin is the same way it needs vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid to process carbs and protein in your body to turn it into useable energy. B5 is also important in healthy skin and hair. Although applying it or consuming it won’t necessarily help in the regrowth of your hair, but it can prevent it from thinning.
Improve your cardiovascular health
Shiitake contains a compound called sterol that can help in controlling the way your liver produces cholesterol. Apart from sterols, some phytonutrients help in preventing your blood cells from sticking to your blood vessels walls thus preventing the accumulation of plaque, improve circulation, and maintain healthy blood pressure. This helps in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system with a reduction in heart diseases, heart attacks, stroke, chronic high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Destroy cancer cells
Shiitake have the potency to fight cancer cells and with the help of lentinan, a chemical compound in shiitake, it can help to restore chromosome damage caused by cancer treatment. The polysaccharides in shiitake also have an anti-cancer effect where they activate your immune system which helps to fight cancerous cells in your body.
Boost your energy and brain function
Shiitake is a great source of B vitamins that help in supporting adrenal functions and also play an important role in the conversion of nutrients from food to useable energy. They also help in balancing your hormones naturally and preventing brain fog so you can stay focused all day thus improving your cognitive performance. B vitamins also support healthy cell growth. Adding shiitake mushrooms in your diet is a good way of solving the B vitamins deficiency that most people suffer from.
Great source of vitamin D
The sun is said to be the best source of vitamin D, but shiitake mushrooms can also provide you with sufficient amounts of the vitamin. Vitamin D is important in the healthy formation and growth of your bones and teeth and reducing your risk of autoimmune disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. This vitamin is also important in the normal absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous in your body. Vitamin D also helps in making sure your immune system and brain are functioning properly. Also, it reduces the intensity of asthma attacks and lowers your risk of rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis in women.
Contains antimicrobial properties
Shiitake can also be effective in fighting gingivitis, a preventable disease that causes inflammation of your gums because of a buildup of a microbial biofilm at the gingival margin. Taking shiitake mushroom extracts can help in reducing the bacteria and pathogenic organisms without affecting the non-infectious organisms in your mouth.
Shiitake mushrooms are a versatile and nutritious food that you can include in a variety of dishes and a good replacement for meat. They not only have a great taste, but the health benefits make shiitake a great addition to any diet.