What Are the Benefits of Shitake Mushrooms?

Overview

Shiitake mushrooms have long been used in Chinese medicine for their medicinal and healing properties. One of these properties, called lentinan, has shown promise in boosting the immune system and protecting against influenza and other viruses.

Health

Shiitake mushrooms reduce cholesterol and boost the immune system. They have been used to reduce blood pressure and help alleviate liver diseases. Shiitake mushrooms have shown some ability to reduce tumor growth and alleviate symptoms of AIDS, according to Kenneth Jones, author of "Shiitake Medicine in a Mushroom: Herbs for Health."

Nutrients

Shiitake mushrooms are a major source of selenium and iron. They are rich in protein, dietary fiber and Vitamin C. Shiitakes are full of protein, potassium, B vitamins, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.

Skin

A number of skin creams use shiitake mushrooms because they contain kojic acid, a natural skin brightener. Shiitake mushrooms also have skin-tightening properties.

Dried

Shiitake mushrooms can be dried and stored. They can easily be restored with water and all their medicinal properties remain intact. While they cook well in soups and stews, they do not turn out well when fried.

Side Effects

Shiitake mushrooms can cause diarrhea, stomach inflation or skin allergies if consumed in excess. These mushrooms contain purines and are unsuitable for people with gout and kidney stones.

References

  • ImmuneSupport.com: Shiitake, Medicine in a Mushroom
  • ShiitakeMushroomLog.com: Facts and Nutritional Health Benefits
  • The World's Healthiest Foods: Mushroom, Shiitake
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About this Author

Norah Faith was born and raised in Texas and from there she has traveled nationally and internationally. After acquiring her teaching license from New Mexico State University, she found herself teaching ESL around the world. She continues to teach today and finds satisfaction writing for Demand Studios and other sites.

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