When you think of shiitake mushrooms, you may picture the umbrella-shaped characteristic or perhaps the delicious taste they offer when incorporated into recipes. But shiitake mushrooms can also offer a host of nutrients essential to maintaining better health. While often used as a culinary mushroom, shiitake mushrooms are cultivated into supplement form for easier consumption. This article will explore the shiitake mushroom’s nutritional benefits and how to add this superfood to your diet.
The Benefits of Shiitake
Shiitake mushrooms are packed with fiber, protein, antioxidants, and bioactive compounds crucial for optimal health. Native to warm, humid climates in Southeast Asia, shiitake has offered powerful immune-supporting properties for centuries. This species is also known to help support heart health and promote a youthful appearance in individuals with no known heart issues.‡ Modernly grown indoors, shiitake is one of the largest mushrooms cultivated in the world.
As a popular edible mushroom, shiitake offers a savory, earthy flavor. But this valuable species offers more than just a delicious taste, it can also be beneficial for health and wellness. Shiitake is known to support:
Immune health.‡ Shiitake is known to support immune health based on the number of polysaccharides found in this species.‡ Polysaccharides are an abundant carbohydrate that can stimulate immune cells to help your body activate its immune response.
Healthy cholesterol levels.‡ While cholesterol is important, too much of it can cause serious health risks. Sterols, a compound found in shiitake, act similar to cholesterol and can get in the way of your digestive tract to block too much cholesterol from entering the bloodstream. This allows cholesterol to leave your body as waste and can ultimately help to support lower cholesterol levels.
Heart health.‡ When considering a diet filled with heart-healthy ingredients, shiitake mushrooms can be considered at the top of the list. They are the perfect low-calorie option that can benefit a healthy diet. Shiitake mushrooms also have compounds that can interfere with cholesterol in the liver. These compounds can help to support lower cholesterol levels as well as low blood pressure which ultimately helps to support cardiovascular health.
Skin health.‡ Shiitake contains nutrients that support a youthful appearance. This is due to the extensive amount of bioactive compounds and minerals found in shiitake that help to support collagen production and inflammation.
Shiitake Mushroom Nutrition
The nutritional value of shiitake is what makes this functional mushroom a topic of health and wellness. This fungi is rich in protein and fiber, and low in calories making it the perfect addition to your daily diet. But the shiitake mushroom nutrition benefits don’t stop there. Shiitake contains:
Vitamin B9, also known as Folate, is an important micronutrient that helps red blood cell formation.
Vital for proper cell function to support immune health and brain development.
An essential vitamin used to break down fats and carbohydrates to produce energy. B5 also produces red blood cells to help carry oxygen throughout the body.
Also called Niacin, which helps to support cholesterol levels by blocking the liver from making cholesterol.
Vitamin B2, otherwise known as Riboflavin, helps to break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in the body to help produce energy.
Vitamin B1, also called Thiamin, is essential for the growth and development of cells. According to Healthline, “the body needs thiamine to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP)—this is a molecule that transports energy within cells.”
The presence of vitamin D will vary based on where the mushroom was grown, however, vitamin D helps to regulate calcium, phosphorus, and supports bone growth.
Copper is an essential mineral for the body that helps to support immune health, brain development, and can support pigmentation in the skin.
Iron is a vital mineral that supports energy production, hemoglobin levels, and your immune system.
Manganese helps to support strong bones and will help your body utilize a number of vitamins to support immune health, brain activity, and energy production.
Magnesium plays a crucial role in supporting the body’s nerve function and energy production. This mineral can also help to support blood pressure and immune function.
Potassium is an essential mineral to the body as it is also an electrolyte. Electrolytes can help control the balance of fluid in the body. Potassium is also a key nutrient in supporting kidney, heart health, and the nervous system.
Phosphorus plays a large role in supporting bone and teeth health. This essential mineral also helps to repair and restore cellular tissue.
Selenium has strong antioxidant properties and can help to prevent free radical damage which is essential in maintaining good immune health.
While the body only needs small amounts of Zinc, this mineral is key in building proteins, cellular production and DNA, and also supports immune health.
While you can receive many of these nutrients from a well-balanced diet, it is not always easy to incorporate all the necessary food groups that we strive for. Because of this, we often turn to a natural supplement to help support the body’s need for the bioactive compounds and minerals it lacks.
How To Incorporate Shiitake Into Your Diet
The shiitake mushroom nutrition benefits are plentiful. Thankfully, there are a variety of formats from which to choose to add this powerful superfood into your daily diet.
Shiitake Mushroom Powder Supplement
Mushroom powder supplements have grown in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. Imagine taking all the beneficial components of shiitake mushrooms and transforming them into a convenient powder that can be added to recipes, smoothies, coffee, or tea. Mushroom powder gives you the ability to add a mushroom superfood to your daily regime by simply adding a teaspoon of powder to your choice of beverage or meal.
At Om Mushroom, we offer an array of organic mushroom powder supplements that are designed to promote immunity, vitality, cognitive health, and energy.‡ We offer a choice of beauty blends that combine shiitake with chaga, cordyceps, king trumpet, and maitake to support healthy hair, skin, and nails. By combining different species of mushrooms, one single blend of mushrooms can help to support a variety of health benefits including youthful aging, immune support, and support for healthy blood sugar levels.‡