The Real Health Benefits Of Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms are popular for their savory and distinctive taste, but did you know that they also contain a number of health benefits? Native to East Asia, shiitake mushrooms grow on decaying hardwood trees and range in color from tan to brown (via Healthline).

Their large caps measure anywhere between two and four inches, and have been used for both food and medicinal purposes for over a thousand years. While they are also grown in western countries like the U.S. and Canada, 83 percent of all shiitake mushrooms are grown in Japan.

Packed full of vitamins and minerals, shiitake mushrooms are often sold rehydrated, dried, or fresh and can be found in most grocery stores and farmers markets. With their savory flavor and meaty texture, shiitake mushrooms can be added to a variety of meals and dishes. They can be added to soups, stir-fries, and pasta dishes, or roasted for a simple and crunchy snack.

The benefits of shiitake mushrooms

In addition to being a tasty and versatile ingredient, shiitake mushrooms are full of nutrients and have been linked to a variety of health benefits. For example, shiitake mushrooms can help promote heart health (via WebMd). This is because they contain beta-glucans and eritadenine, which can both help to reduce cholesterol.

Shiitake mushrooms can also help boost your immune system. Shiitake mushrooms are full of polysaccharides, which can increase the production of white blood cells to help fight off infection. The copper in the mushrooms can also help aid immunity (via Verywell Fit). In addition, shiitake mushrooms can help improve your dental health. According to one study, shiitake mushrooms can effectively reduce the amount of harmful plaque and bacteria in your teeth and gums, preventing the development of gingivitis or periodontitis.

While they are generally beneficial to your overall health, eating raw shiitake mushrooms may cause an allergic reaction with dermatitis in some people. Cooking the mushrooms before eating them can help prevent this from happening.