Shiitake Mushrooms and Other Fungus that Can Help Your Diet

Shiitake mushrooms are extremely versatile and lend a hearty woodsy flavor to any dish you use them in. Because they are a specialty mushroom, they cost a bit more than button mushrooms, but the flavor is far better. Among shiitakes there are other fungi that can help your diet, whether through losing weight or adding nutrients to your daily choices. Consider varying the types and frequency of fungus in your diet. Shop local and find in season produce to support your community and keep your costs down.

How Fungus Helps Your Diet

The fungus family, mostly known as mushrooms, offers a wealth of health benefits that far outweigh their strange appearance. Mushrooms offer health benefits including a major boost to the immune system, positive effects on the heart and cardiovascular system, cancer fighting nutrients, vitamin D and much more. Mushrooms are also great at helping you lose and maintain a healthy weight. Mushrooms are low in fat, calories and sodium. They offer a heartiness to any dish which help you fill up fast and stay full for a longer time. 

Why Shiitakes?

Shiitakes have been regarded for centuries as a healing mushroom, both ingested and for topical use. Those slightly more exotic than button or white mushrooms and creminis, shiitakes can be found at most grocery stores. Shiitakes are native to Asian countries, but can be grown anywhere under the right environmental conditions, including on synthetic logs. Some of the health benefits that shiitakes offer are increased immune health, improved heart health, antioxidants and lowered cholesterol.

Other Edible Fungi

The edible portion of the fungi family is mostly contained in a large variety of mushrooms. While most of us had heard of and used mushrooms such as white buttons, creminis, shiitakes and portobellas, there are many others that offer a wide variety of health benefits and tasty flavors to add to your favorite dishes. Some of these include oyster, yellow foot, hedge hog, black trumpet, chicken of the woods, lobsters and more. Many of these can be found in your local grocery store and some you can search out at specialty stores or online specialty food providers.

Shiitake mushrooms and other fungus options are a great addition to your diet and offer a variety of benefits, including immune health and a low-fat ingredient for all of your favorite dishes. There are many varieties of mushrooms to choose from and a texture and flavor to fit any taste or style of cooking. Mushrooms can be eaten raw, sauteed, broiled, grilled, baked or dried. They are used in every culture of food and can be found in cookbooks and recipe collections of every kind. Keep it interesting by enjoying the benefits of fungus in your diet, by choosing a different mushroom once a month to try and work into one of your favorite dishes. You’ll easily find your favorites and know which are the best and which are the worst for your specific taste.


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