Shiitake mushrooms are an edible variety of mushroom native to China, particularly known for their healing properties. The mushrooms themselves are brown and fleshy with a curved cap that can grow anywhere between 5 to 25cm in diameter.
The shiitake mushroom has been cultivated in Asia for well over 1000 years – there is record of its growth as early as 1000AD, and is now the third most widely produced mushroom in the world.
The shiitake mushroom has been used as a symbol of longevity in Asian countries due to its health-promoting properties.
|Nutritional value per
100 g (3.5 oz)
|Energy||34 kcal (141 kJ)|
|* Carbohydrates||6.79 g|
|Dietary fiber||2.5 g|
|* Fat||0.49 g|
|* Protein||2.24 g|
|Thiamine (Vit. B1)||0.015 mg|
|Riboflavin (Vit. B2)||0.217 mg|
|Niacin (Vit. B3)||3.877 mg|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||1.500 mg|
|* Vitamin B6||0.293 mg|
|* Vitamin D||20 IU|
|* Calcium||2 mg|
|* Iron||0.41 mg|
|* Magnesium||20 mg|
A comprehensive breakdown of nutrients can be found in the Nutrition Database where this food can also be added to a meal planner.
At the Department of Bioresource Science, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine in Japan, research has shown that shiitake mushrooms increase the level of cholesterol in feces. This in turn reduces the amount of cholesterol in the body
Shiitake mushrooms have been known to cause diarrhea and abdominal bloating when high quantities have been consumed.
Certain allergic reactions have also been recorded, most commonly skin rashes.
It should also be noted, that since all varieties of mushrooms are a significant source of purines, which can be broken down to form uric acid, they are not recommended for sufferers of gout or kidney stones.
1. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno.
2. Benders’ Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology.
3. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
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14. Image by frankenstoen