Shiitake mushrooms are very well-known nowadays, especially among vegetarians and vegans. Unfortunately, they are not used enough.

They are such an excellent mushroom but so underused! Apart from being versatile and delicious, they also have some related health benefits that will increase your well-being over time and if done with a healthy diet.

What are shiitake mushrooms?

Like other types of mushroom, a shiitake mushroom is part of the fungi kingdom. It is native to East Asia, which is perhaps why it hasn’t been quite as popular as other types commonly grown in the West.

It has long been considered a medicinal food used in some forms of traditional healthcare and has been cultivated in Japan for centuries.

The conventional cultivation method was to leave a log of wood that is known to bear the shiitake and leave it next to other freshly cut down logs. This would allow the fungus to take hold and spread over the shiitake bearing wood.

Health benefits

Most forms of fungi are known to hold at least some medicinal benefits to the human body and thus been used throughout time to cure any number of ailments.

From boosting immunity by supplying a multitude of beneficial vitamins and minerals to skincare, the humble mushroom has proven time and time again that by including it regularly into your diet, you will see numerous positive effects.

The shiitake is no different, and you will see the main benefits that it provides.

7 Amazing health benefits of shiitake mushrooms


This comes not directly from what is contained in the mushroom, but rather indirectly via the fantastic taste it produces and the versatility with which it can be cooked.

For example, you can use them in any season and a variety of dishes. These can range from Instant Pot steamed dumplings from Corrie Cooks, all the way to a simple, fresh pasta, perfect for a summer day!

The impact of eating delicious food cooked freshly is underrated as a method to boost one’s mood. Numerous studies have shown how eating a homecooked meal can enhance your well-being.

Obesity prevention properties

Okay, so this is often banded about in these types of articles, but this time is slightly different. With shiitake mushrooms, the benefit comes in prevention rather than a cure.

For example, by including these fungi in your recipes, you will be increasing your intake of eritadenine and b-glucan, both of which have been proven to have fat reduction properties and are also able to suppress your appetite, therefore reducing your food intake.

It has been reported by the Journal of Obesity that these effects are particularly prominent in high-fat diets.

Keep your heart in tik tok shape

While you won’t suddenly become a Tour De France contestant overnight, shiitake mushrooms contain a particular group of compounds known as sterols.

These compounds affect how your liver produces cholesterol in your body and reduces the number of red blood cells sticking to your arteries. This benefits you by decreases the chances of accumulating damaging blood vessel plaque.

Researchers at Tohoku University, Japan, showed in a controlled test that both VLDL and HDL cholesterol decreased when participants were fed shiitake over time.

Has energy and brain-boosting properties

Along with the other amazing vitamins and minerals, which will be discussed later, they contain many B vitamins.

If you are already familiar with these groups of vitamins, you will know just what they can do for your energy level. If you are unacquainted with b vitamins, they play a vital role in transforming nutrients you receive from your food; into energy.

The smoother your body can do this, the higher levels of healthy energy you will have. Regarding brain function, a deficiency in b vitamins has the effect of clouding your thought process and can give you a feeling of being down in the dumps.

Enhances skin health

Great skin and antioxidants go hand in hand. By increasing your intake of vitamins A and E by eating more shiitake mushrooms, you will be improving the look and feel of your skin.

Aside from vitamins A and E, they contain selenium and Zinc, both proven to reduce acne and boost skin healing.

Immune enhancing effects

By containing a raft of beneficial vitamins and minerals, shiitake mushrooms can improve your body’s ability to heal itself in shorter amounts of time.

However, it is not just the vitamins contained that has these effects, but also the enzymes released when cooked that can massively increase your gut health.

As our enteric nervous system is often referred to as a second brain for its gut flora, it is wise to keep it healthy and in perfect working order.

Adding shiitake mushrooms to your diet can create an environment in your gut that is advantageous for the bacteria there and can help reduce inflammation.

Vitamins and minerals

The vast array of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes in this mighty mushroom, is quite spectacular.

As you have already read, these produce some fantastic health-boosting effects. However, the full list is quite magnificent:

  • Dietary Fiber: Okay, so pretty much all healthy food contains this, but it is still worth noting as it is so useful.
  • Riboflavin: Aka B vitamins.
  • Niacin: Vitamin B3 that is useful in a variety of ways.
  • Zinc: A deficiency in this mineral can produce several undesirable effects such as diarrhea and hair loss.
  • Manganese: Helps to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation, among many other things.
  • Pantothenic Acid: Involved in making blood cells and creates energy from your food.
  • Copper: Sustains healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves, and immune function.
  • Selenium: This mineral is a powerful antioxidant that can protect against thyroid problems.


As you can see, the number of positive effects that arise from including shiitakes mushrooms into your diet are numerous. Most mushrooms will contain comparable levels to the shiitake, but this type of fungus has a few added benefits, especially when it comes to fat prevention.

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