Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) are one of the most popular edible mushrooms native to East Asia, which is cultivated and consumed in many East Asian countries. In Asia, these mushrooms have been used for thousands of years to improve general health. Shiitake is a Japanese name, ‘shii’ is the name of a Japanese tree (Castanopsis cuspidate) where the mushrooms grows and ‘take’ means mushrooms .
Health Benefits Of Shiitake Mushrooms
1. Aid weight loss
Shiitake mushrooms are low in calories and a good source of fibre. A study published in the Journal of Obesity studied the effects of shiitake mushrooms on plasma lipid profiles, fat deposition, energy efficiency and body fat index. During the study, rats were fed high doses of shiitake mushroom powder with their high-fat diet for six weeks, which resulted in the reduction of body weight gain compared to rats that were given low and medium doses of shiitake powder.
2. Boost immunity
Noted studies have shown the effectiveness of shiitake mushrooms in strengthening immunity. A 2015 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition showed that eating shiitake mushrooms daily can help improve immune function . This could be due to the presence of polysaccharides in shiitake mushrooms .
3. Promote heart health
The presence of several compounds in shiitake mushrooms like sterols, beta glucans and eritadenine have been shown to help reduce cholesterol, which may lower the risk of heart disease.
4. May fight infections
Shiitake mushrooms contain several compounds that exhibit antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal effects, which may fight bacterial, viral or fungal infections .
5. May strengthen bones
As shiitake mushrooms are a good source of vitamin D and calcium consuming them may help build strong bones. A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that vitamin D2 and calcium obtained from shiitake mushrooms may improve bone mineral density.
6. May manage cancer
Research studies have shown that shiitake mushrooms have the ability to destroy cancer cells. This is due to the presence of polysaccharide lentinan in the mushrooms. Polysaccharide lentinan have immunomodulating and anti-tumour properties that help fight tumours by activating the immune system.