Shiitake Mushroom Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Shiitakes annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) are a savory ingredient that is popular in Asian cuisine. Shiitakes are high in fiber and low in calories, fat, and protein. They are packed with harder-to-get plant-based nutrients like vitamin D, zinc, choline, and B vitamins.

Shiitake Mushroom Nutrition Facts

One cup of cooked shiitake mushrooms (145g) provides 81 calories, 2.3g of protein, 21g of carbohydrates, and 0.3g of fat. Shiitake mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin B vitamins, zinc, and vitamin D. The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 81
  • Fat: 0.3g
  • Sodium: 5.8mg
  • Carbohydrates: 21g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugars: 5.6g
  • Protein: 2.3g
  • Vitamin D: 1mcg
  • Zinc: 2mg

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, your fat intake will increase if you cook them in oil or butter, so choose a heart-healthy option like olive oil.

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 light 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 minerals copper and selenium.

B vitamins found in shiitake mushrooms are B5 (104% of daily recommended intake per cup, based on a 2,000-calorie diet), thiamin, riboflavin, folate, niacin, and B6. Shiitake mushrooms are also a good source of choline, an essential nutrient for metabolism and for making the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

Calories

One cup of shiitake mushrooms (145g) provides 81 calories, 88% of which come from carbs, 9% from protein, and 3% from fat. Shiitake mushrooms are a low-calorie, yet filling food.

Summary

Shiitake mushrooms are a low-calorie, high-fiber source of carbohydrates that are packed full of vital nutrients. Shiitakes are rich in B vitamins, vitamin D, zinc, copper, and selenium.

Health Benefits

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

Promotes Heart Health

Naturally low in sodium and free of saturated fats, mushrooms are heart-healthy food, especially when used as an alternative to processed meats. The beta-glucan (a type of soluble fiber) in shiitake mushrooms is useful for cholesterol reduction. 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 in the mouth. This bacteria damages gum tissues and may lead to complications such as periodontal disease.

Studies have shown that shiitake mushroom extract can reduce this harmful bacteria while preserving healthy bacteria. These results suggest dental health benefits associated with shiitake mushrooms.

Aids Immunity

Because not much copper is stored in the body, having a reliable food source can help prevent a deficiency. A cup of cooked shiitake mushrooms contains more than the daily required amount of copper for most adults.

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, the handling of 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, you can avoid it by cooking shiitake mushrooms before consuming them.

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

You can find shiitake mushrooms in most grocery stores and farmer's markets in fresh or dried form. You can reconstitute dried shiitake mushrooms by soaking them in water for 20 minutes before use.

Shiitake mushrooms may also be added to various nutritional products and supplements, such as mushroom coffee or powders.

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.

You can also preserve shiitake mushrooms 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, then place in airtight containers for the freezer.

Instead of freezing, you can also dry shiitake mushrooms in a low heat oven (200 degrees Fahrenheit with an open door) or a dehydrator. Once cool and dry, they can be stored in a dark place and reconstituted 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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