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Shiitakes Health Benefits, Nutritional Value and Uses

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What is Shiitakes?

This mushroom is the second most widely cultivated mushroom in the world. It has been a popular food source in the cuisine of Asia for hundreds of years. Having no roots, leaves, blossoms, or seeds, shiitake mushrooms fall into a special category: fungus. Famous for their rich texture and smoky flavor, they’re the second most commonly cultivated edible mushrooms, readily available on market shelves worldwide. Compared with white button mushrooms, shiitakes are purported to have more than 10 times the flavor. This can intensify when they’re dried and reconstituted by soaking in water.

Health Benefits of Shiitakes

Shiitake mushroom contains chemicals that might help lower cholesterol levels. It also contains very small amounts of a chemical that seems to keep tumors from getting bigger.

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Powerful Antioxidant: Antioxidants help the body fight off free radicals, which can mutate cells and ultimately lead to cancer. Shiitake mushrooms have been found to contain a potent antioxidant, L-ergothioneine.

Helps Fight Cancer: They contain a compound called lentinan, which has been shown to strengthen the immune system’s ability to fight infection and disease.

Uses of Shiitakes

An extract made from this mushroom is used as medicine.

Shiitake mushroom is used for boosting the immune system, lowering blood cholesterol levels, treating prostate cancer, and as an anti-aging agent.

Shiitake mushroom is also eaten as food.Shiitakes have a meaty texture and woodsy flavor, making them the perfect addition to soups, salads, meat dishes and stir fries

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You can store them in a glass jar in a dark place for up to a year, says Ornel. To revive a dried shiitake, soak it in water for 30 minutes, or add the dried mushrooms to soups.

Nutritional value of Shiitakes

Comparing the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients between foods, shiitake mushrooms are completely unique. Copper figures most prominently, with 65% of the daily value per serving, significant because copper is one of the few metallic elements accompanied by amino and fatty acids, essential to human health. Linoleic acid is one. Since the body can’t synthesize copper, our diets must supply it regularly.

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Right behind copper is pantothenic acid and selenium, which provide 52% and 51% of the daily value, respectively. Riboflavin, niacin, zinc, and manganese play supportive roles, along with ergothioniene, an antioxidant that inhibits oxidative stress.

Shiitake mushrooms also contain strong compounds having the natural ability to discourage inflammation, tumors, “bad” bacteria, harmful viruses, and, ironically, fungus. B vitamins such as B2, B5 and B6 are part of the package, providing energy by breaking down fats, carbs, and proteins.

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