Shiitake mushrooms are a type of mushroom that originated in China and are therefore a common ingredient in Chinese cuisine. Even though shiitake mushrooms are popular in mostly Asian countries, they are now being used in many dishes around the world. Read on to learn more about the nutritional benefits of these mushrooms.
1. Reduces Cholesterol
A Swedish study has shown that shiitake mushrooms can effectively reduce cholesterol in the body. This ability is due to a compound called eritadenine, which can be found in shiitake mushrooms and shiitake mushroom extract. Another study conducted in Japan showed that regular consumption of shiitake mushrooms increased the levels of cholesterol in the feces, which means that less cholesterol is left over in the body.
2. Strengthens Immune System
Another reason to eat shiitake mushrooms regularly is that they effectively strengthen your immune system. Shiitake mushrooms contain a powerful compound called lentinan, which enables your immune system to fight diseases and infections more efficiently. In fact, shiitake mushrooms are believed to be more effective than many prescription drugs. Shiitake mushrooms can help you battle more common infections like influenza to more serious health ailments like HIV.
3. Prevents Cancer
The compound lentinan not only helps boost your immune system but can also help prevent cancer. According to studies, lentinan promotes several anti-cancer activities. It can reduce the growth of cancerous cells and prevent the spread of existing ones. The compound also stimulates your immune system to release proteins and cells that destroy cancer cells. Gastric cancers in particular can be prevented by regular consumption of shiitake mushrooms.
4. Prevents Thrombosis
Consuming shiitake mushroom oil has also been shown to effectively prevent thrombosis. Thrombosis is a health condition that produces blood clots in your veins which leads to restricted blood flow. If you've ever gone on a long-haul flight where you had to sit for long periods of time without activity, then chances are you have experienced this disorder. Thrombosis usually occurs in the veins of the legs and can be quite painful. Shiitake mushrooms contain high levels of lenthionine, which prevents platelets from aggregating.
5. Rich in Iron
Shiitake mushrooms are rich in iron, a mineral which is essential for maintaining good health. Iron improves the circulation of oxygen through your blood. As a result, oxygen and other nutrients are effectively supplied to your muscle cells, brain and other parts of the body. Iron is also used to treat anemia, so if you are anemic as a result of menstruation or pregnancy, make sure you incorporate plenty of shiitake mushrooms into your diet. Iron can also boost your energy level and prevent fatigue.
6. Aids in Weight Loss
If you are currently trying to lose weight, shiitake mushrooms make a great diet food. Not only do they contain a small amount of calories, but they are also packed with plenty of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber slows down digestion so you feel full for a longer period of time.