Currently one of the most cultivated mushrooms in the entire world, the Shiitake mushroom originates from Asia were it has grown for many centuries. It has been used in many ancient Asian medicinal practices and written about in the first books about herbal medicine. This edible fungus has also been integrated into a myriad of cuisines from all over the world due to its taste and health benefits. It is highly recommended to add this wonderful mushroom into your diet.
The meaty mushroom is well known for their immune system support which has been found to immensely help those inflicted with AIDS–due to a compound called lentinan which helps reduce the risk of disease and infection. The same compound has been studied further and is believed to stop or slow tumor growth. In Asian countries and recently the U.K., shiitake mushrooms in both extract and powdered form are given to chemotherapy patients to aid in the treatment of certain types of cancer.
The mushroom is great for anyone trying to lose weight or with diabetes because of its low calories, fat, glycemic index, and many methods of cooking it without spiking blood sugar levels.
- 100 grams has: 296 calories, 1 gram of fat, 11 grams of dietary fiber (over 40% of the recommended daily value), 2 grams of sugar, and 10 grams of protein.
Within the fungus there is a compound called D-Eritadenine or DEA, which helps lower cholesterol and prevents cardiovascular disease. The mushroom is also extremely high in B vitamins and minerals that have antioxidant properties. Combined they provide further protection from the previous conditions stated that unfortunately diabetics have a higher chance of developing.
When searching for fresh shiitake mushrooms, be sure to find those with dry and plump brown caps. Try to the mushrooms store in a refrigerator inside a closed paper to extend shelf life. When preparing these mushrooms please avoid soaking them in water they get soggy, try to keep water use to a minimal when handling the fungus. For maximum nutrient retention please sauté or eat them raw. The delicious fungus is a great substitute meat and most experts suggest consuming them regularly in a vegetarian diet.