The Shiitake Mushroom, the third most widely distributed mushroom in the world, has enjoyed a prominent spot in Asian cuisine for centuries. People eat shiitake mushrooms raw, cooked or dried, making them a versatile food you can incorporate into a wide array of meals. Raw shiitakes offer the largest number of health benefits, but dried shiitakes are also rich in vitamins and minerals. Cooking a shiitake mushroom, however, depletes it of a large portions of its nutrients.
- Calories, Protein and Fiber: Shiitake mushrooms can be a beneficial addition to your diet if you are trying to lose weight or avoid gaining weight. A serving of four raw shiitake mushrooms has only 26 calories and less than a gram of fat. They also provide 2 grams of dietary fiber, helping to keep you feeling full and satisfied, and nearly 2 grams of protein. Cooked and dried shiitake mushrooms, though still extremely low in calories, are a little more energy-dense. Four of them have about 40 calories, but they are lower in protein and fiber than raw shiitake mushrooms.
- B-Complex Vitamins: Shiitake mushrooms provide B-complex vitamins that benefit your metabolism by helping your body convert food into energy. B vitamins also help your body make red blood cells, protecting you from developing anemia. Four raw shiitake mushrooms contain one-seventh of the riboflavin, one-fifth of the niacin and one-sixth of the vitamin B-6 you need each day. Cooked shiitake mushrooms have less of each of these vitamins, but dried shiitakes contain a little more riboflavin than raw mushrooms.
- Minerals: If you are trying to increase your intake of essential minerals, adding shiitake mushrooms is a flavorful way to supplement your diet. A serving of raw shiitakes provides about one-twentieth of the magnesium and potassium you need each day, as well as 10 percent of your recommended daily intake for phosphorus. Cooking shiitake mushrooms depletes them of three-fourths of their phosphorus content and two-thirds of their potassium content, but dried shiitakes have just as much potassium and even more magnesium than raw.
- Anti-Tumor Activity: Shiitake mushrooms have anti-cancer properties, according to Japanese researchers who published a study in “Cancer Science” in 2011. The research team gave a powdered shiitake extract to mice with melanoma and found that their tumors stopped growing. Shiitake extract appears to restore melanoma-reactive T cells, an important aspect of cancer treatment. The researchers recommended using shiitake extract as part of a treatment program for cancer patients because it is safe and can easily be administered on an outpatient basis.
Source: Appleby, Maia; “What Are the Benefits of Shiitake Mushrooms?”, Demand Media, www.livestrong.com/article/471516-benefits-of-yeast-extract/