Shiitake mushrooms are widely known for their delicious flavor and high medicinal value. Read on to know all about the health benefits of eating shiitake mushrooms.

Benefits Of Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms are native to East Asia, particularly countries like China, Japan, Korea and Thailand. They are actually a type of fungi i.e. living organisms with no roots, leaves, flowers or seeds. Also called Japanese Mushrooms, these are not only included in dishes alone, but are often used in herbal remedies, because of their many therapeutic properties. The cultivation of mushrooms requires significant amount of shade and wind protection. They take time to develop and a lot depends on the temperature and timing of precipitation. These mushrooms need to be protected against sun and heat. It is best to harvest them in February, for inoculation in April or early May. Shiitake mushrooms are low in calories, sodium content and glucose and possess high content of potassium, phosphorous, copper, zinc, fiber and high quality protein, making them an ideal food for vegetarians. They are known to provide relief from respiratory problems, liver trouble, weakness, poor blood circulation and exhaustion. They also help in boosting life energy and preventing premature ageing. To explore more health benefits of shiitake mushrooms, read on.
Nutritional Value Of Shiitake Mushrooms 

Nutrient Value/100g
1239 kJ
14.4 g
1.6 g
Total Fat
0.2 g
0 mg
Dietary Fiber
2.1 g
21 mcg 
1.5 mg
Pantothenic acid
3.6 mg
0 mg
0.2 mg
0 mg
Vitamin A
0 IU
Vitamin C
0.3 mg
Vitamin K
0 mcg
4 mg
117 mg
3 mg
0.9 mg
0.4 mg
14 mg
0.2 mg
29 mg

Health Benefits Of Eating Shiitake Mushrooms
  • The amino acid present in shiitake mushroom helps in lowering cholesterol, by speeding up its processing in liver.
  • The lentinan present in these mushrooms helps in stimulating immune system cells and gets rid of tumor cells.
  • Shiitake mushrooms are known to possess antibacterial as well as antiviral properties.
  • These mushrooms have been seen to have an effective result on viruses like HIV and hepatitis B.
  • They improve immunity and can be regarded as a substitute source of animal protein by vegetarians.
  • Shiitake mushrooms reduce platelet aggregation, much more effectively than prescription drugs.
  • Shiitake mushrooms help in fighting influenza and other viruses.
  • L-ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant, has been discovered in these mushrooms. The good part is that, it does not get destroyed when mushrooms are cooked.
  • Certain compounds present in these mushrooms slow down and even stop tumor growth in the body. The hexose-containing compound in these has the ability to reduce tumor activity and reduce the side effects of cancer treatments. 



  • Shiitake mushrooms have purines in them and might create problems for people who are susceptible to it. Excess accumulation of purines in the body might lead to excess accumulation of uric acid, which leads to the formation of kidney stones and gout.
  • Individuals suffering from kidney stones and gout are advised against taking purine-containing foods, such as shiitake mushrooms.
  • After having shiitake mushrooms, some people may suffer from allergic skin reactions like reddening of skin, which may be worsened by exposure to light.
Buying & Storing Tips
  • Shiitake mushrooms are available in grocery stores and even in capsule form in health food stores.
  • While buying shiitake mushrooms, select ones that are plump, firm and look fresh and clean.
  • Shop for log-grown mushrooms, rather than those grown in a sawdust medium.
  • The best shiitake mushrooms have dark brown round caps attached to a small white stem.
  • Avoid choosing shiitake mushrooms that are wrinkled as these may not be fresh.
  • Make sure, to avoid selecting mushrooms that have wet slimy spots.
  • Shiitake mushrooms can be best stored by keeping them in a loosely closed paper bag and placing them in the refrigerator. These will remain fresh for a week only.
  • Keep dried shiitake mushrooms in a tightly sealed container and store them either in the freezer or the refrigerator, to keep them fresh for six months or one year.
Cooking Tips
  • Shiitake mushrooms are not exposed to dirt, so before cooking you only have to wash them gently.
  • Dried mushrooms should be boiled in water or soaked in water for a few hours before consumption as these tend to be woody.
  • Shiitake mushrooms have a rich, delicious and smoky flavor, which lures taste buds. They are traditionally added to miso soups.
  • Mushrooms are highly porous, so they might turn soggy, if exposed to too much water. Try cleaning them with a damp cloth or with mushroom brush.
  • Prefer buying fresh organically grown shiitake mushrooms, rather than the stored or preserved ones.
  • They can be grilled or baked, sliced or consumed whole and added to stir fries.
  • You can prepare an easy dish using shiitake mushrooms, sautéed with onions and garlic which can be served with chicken, venison or lamb.
  • When preparing vegetable stock, add dried shiitake mushrooms for a rich flavor.
  • Cook healthy Asian pasta, using sautéed shiitake mushrooms, tofu and snap peas and mix them with buckwheat soba noodles or any pasta of your choice. Season the contents with delicious herbs and spices for a delectable taste.

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