Shiitake Mushroom Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Shiitakes annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) are a savory ingredient that are popular in Asian cuisine. Although shiitake mushrooms offer health benefits, there are also some dangers associated with this mushroom when it's consumed raw or in supplement form. Learn how to enjoy shiitake mushrooms safely as a delicious and nutritious natural food.

Shiitake Mushroom Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (145g) of shiitake mushrooms cooked without salt or oil.

  • Calories: 81
  • Fat: 0.3g
  • Sodium: 5.8mg
  • Carbohydrates: 21g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugars: 5.6g
  • Protein: 2.3g

Carbs

The majority of calories in shiitake mushrooms are from carbohydrates, 3 grams of which come from beneficial fiber. There's also 5.6 grams of natural sugar in 1 cup of cooked shiitake mushrooms.

The glycemic index of mushrooms is between 10 and 15, making them a low glycemic food.

Fats

There is almost no fat in shiitake mushrooms. However, if you cook them in oil or butter—preferably a heart-healthy option like olive oil—your fat intake will increase.

Protein

Shiitake mushrooms contain some protein (2.3 grams per cup cooked). Although they're not a large source of this macronutrient, they do offer all of the essential amino acids.

Vitamins and Minerals

There are several vitamins and minerals in shiitake mushrooms. Some shiitake mushrooms are enriched via UV-B to provide vitamin D with nutritional significance. Shiitake mushrooms naturally contain zinc, manganese, and several B-vitamins. They are a particularly excellent source of the mineral copper.

Health Benefits

Shiitake mushrooms have been seen as a natural remedy in alternative medicine for centuries. Likewise, modern medicine demonstrates shiitake mushrooms' promising health benefits.

Promotes Heart Health

The beta-glucan (a type of soluble fiber) in shiitake mushrooms is useful for cholesterol reduction. Naturally low in sodium and free of saturated fats, mushrooms are heart-healthy food, especially when used as an alternative to processed meats. The potassium in shiitake mushrooms is also beneficial for reducing blood pressure.

Reduces Risk of Prostate Cancer

A 2019 study following more than 36,000 men in Japan between ages 40 and 79 found a correlation between mushroom consumption and lowered incidence of prostate cancer. Researchers attribute the relationship to ergothioneine, an antioxidant in mushrooms like shiitake, king oyster, oyster, and maitake varieties that can ease oxidative stress.

Helps Prevent Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a preventable dental disease caused by plaque buildup and the accumulation of "bad" bacteria. This bacteria damages gum tissues and may lead to greater problems, including periodontal disease. Studies have shown the ability of shiitake mushroom extract to reduce "bad" bacteria in the mouth while preserving healthy bacteria. These results suggest dental health benefits associated with shiitake mushrooms.

Aids Immunity

A cup of cooked shiitake mushrooms contains more than the daily required amount of copper for most adults. Because not much copper is stored in the body, having a reliable food source can help prevent a deficiency. Copper is vital for the immune system, supporting the creation and activity of various immune cells, including T cells, neutrophils, phagocytes, B-lymphocytes, natural killer cells, and antibodies.

Improves Nutritional Status of Vegetarians

Shiitake mushrooms offer several nutrients of interest to vegetarians, helping reduce the risk of deficiencies. Shiitake mushrooms are a good source of zinc. Zinc is typically found in red meat, poultry, and seafood. Because a cup of cooked shiitake mushrooms has almost 2 milligrams of zinc, it helps contribute to a daily goal of 8 to 11 milligrams per day.

Allergies

Shiitake mushrooms are not considered a common allergen, however, it is not impossible to be allergic to them. Although extremely rare, handling shiitake mushrooms has been shown in one case to induce asthma through an IgE-mediated reaction. If you have concerns about an allergy to shiitake mushrooms, consult your healthcare provider for an allergy test.

Adverse Effects

Consuming shiitake mushrooms raw may cause dermatitis. There's a toxic substance in raw shiitake mushrooms called lentinan that produces a rash in some individuals. Although this reaction resolves itself after a week or so, it can be avoided by cooking shiitake mushrooms before consuming.

Shiitake supplements are advertised for purported health benefits. However, it's important to keep in mind that supplements are largely unregulated and not tested for safety. Use caution and speak to your doctor or a registered dietitian nutritionist before adding any new supplements to your routine.

Varieties

Shiitake mushrooms can be found in most grocery stores and farmer's markets in fresh or dried form. Dried shiitake mushrooms can be reconstituted by soaking in water before use.

When It's Best

The best time to harvest shiitake mushrooms is in the late winter or early spring. Although it's possible to grow your own shiitake mushrooms, it's not advisable to go out and pick wild mushrooms from nature. It is easy to confuse edible mushrooms with dangerous toxic varieties. Play it safe and buy your mushrooms from a reputable market.

Choose shiitake mushrooms that are supple and flexible. The skin should bounce back when pressed. Watch out for signs of slime and mold. Use or preserve shiitake mushrooms promptly after purchasing.

Storage and Food Safety

Remove plastic coverings and store mushrooms in a breathable paper bag. In dark and cool conditions (41 degrees Fahrenheit), shiitake mushrooms can last several weeks.

Before cutting or cooking with fresh mushrooms, clean them well using a mushroom brush or a damp paper towel to remove dirt. Do this immediately before using them to avoid spoilage.

Shiitake mushrooms can also be preserved in the freezer. Soak them first for 5 minutes in a solution of 1 pint of water and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to prevent darkening. Steam them for about 3 minutes before draining. Place in airtight containers for the freezer.

Instead of freezing, shiitake mushrooms can also be dried in a low heat oven (200 degrees Fahrenheit with an open door) or a dehydrator. One cool and dry, they can be stored in a dark place and reconstituted by soaking in water for 20 minutes when ready to use.

How to Prepare

Shiitakes offer an umami-rich, meat-like texture that's perfect for savory dishes. Consider using shiitake mushrooms in stir-fries or mixing them into burgers to increase your vegetable intake. Shiitake mushroom stems are tougher than the caps and are best used in broths.

Recipes

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