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Shiitake Mushrooms

By Edward Bauman, M.Ed., ph.D.

Grown for hundreds of years only in Japan, China and Korea, shiitake mushrooms are now cultivated in a number of US states.

Folklore

The Egyptians believed mushrooms were a gift from the god Osiris, while the ancient Romans thought they resulted from lightning thrown to Earth by Jupiter during storms – which explained their sudden appearance, as if by magic. Records of the Chinese Chow Dynasty revealed that mushrooms dated back 3,000 years ago as both food and medicine (Van Straten, 2002; 95).

Nutritional Value

Shiitake mushrooms contain riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, selenium and zinc. They are also a good source of germanium, an element that improves cellular oxygenation and enhances immunity. Also a natural source of interferon, a protein which appears to induce and immune response against cancer (especially stomach and cervix) and viral diseases.

  • Shiitake mushrooms contain an antiviral substance known as lentinan which stimulates the immune system to produce more interferon.
  • Studies demonstrate that shiitake extract promotes the activation of macrophages and the proliferation of bone marrow cells, thereby possessing an immunostimulating activity and anti-HIV effect.
  • Shiitake mushrooms contain lentysine and eritadenine, two ingredients that help lower the level of fat in the blood, which aids in lowering the blood pressure and reducing fatigue. They also -elp discharge the excess residues of accumulated animal protein.
  • They are used in Asia for sexual dysfunction, aging, gallstones, ulcers, and diabetes. (Balch and Balch, 1998; 142)

1 CUP COOKED SHIITAKE CONTAINS:

  • Calories – 80
  • Protein – 2g
  • Carbohydrate – 21g
  • Dietary fiber – 3g
  • Potassium – 170 mg
  • Sodium – 6mg
  • Calcium – 4.3mg
  • Zinc – 1.9mg
  • Vitamin B6 – .23mg
  • Riboflavin – .25mg
  • Niacin – 2.20mg
  • Folate – 30.3mcg
  • Magnesium – 20.3mg
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