Shiitake mushrooms are exotic little edible fungi commonly found in Chinese and Japanse cuisine. They are also called “elixir of life” due to the innumerable health benefits they are known to posses. Research based theories vouch for their medicinal properties of being anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal and anticancerous. They are believed to fight obesity, cardiovascular diseases, lower cholesterol levels, inhibit thrombosis, prevent anaemia, strengthen the digestive system and boost energy levels. The meat like flavor which it imparts makes it a great substitute to meat in a variety of dishes. Packed with goodness and taste shiitakes if introduced to kids could become their hot favourite.
Is your child a fussy eater? Or is he/she suffering from childhood obesity? Or, do you simply want to make a positive change in your child’s diet? Whatever the reason may be, in this age of junk food galore, sorting out a wholesome nutritious diet for children is quite a bit of task for any parent.
Today in this article we give you a brief insight on the health benefits of a wonder food called “Shiitake mushroom”. Shiitake mushroom derives its name from Japanese, where ‘shii’ is the name of the tree on which the mushroom grows. It is the second extensively cultivated edible fungi across the globe, especially in East Asia.
These exotic little umbrellas have been a part of Chinese and Japanese cuisine and medicine since forever. Based on extensive research, medical science is also vouching for the medicinal and nutritional benefits of shiitake mushrooms. These “Black forest mushrooms” or “Oak wood mushrooms” as they are otherwise called, are a treasure trove of dietary vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fibre. They are high in iron, niacin, and B-vitamins especially B1 and B12. In sun dried form they contain vitamin -D.
At present mushrooms have become the Asian symbol for health and longevity. Let us enlighten ourselves to the 11 benefits of shiitake mushrooms for kids:
11 Must Know Health Benefits of Shiitake Mushrooms for Children
1) Boost up the immune system
Mushrooms have the ability to support and boost immunity. A storehouse of dietary nutrients, shiitake mushrooms provide important vitamins, minerals and enzymes to combat many diseases. A 2015 study published in the journal of American college of nutrition, suggests that consuming shiitake mushrooms improved cell effective function and gut immunity.
2) Combat obesity
Childhood obesity has become very common these days. Shiitake mushrooms contain components that help in tackling obesity. The raw fruit body of mushrooms have almost 88-92% of water and hence less calorific value. According to a study published in the journal of obesity volume (2011),there is a negative correlation between the amount of shiitake mushroom supplementation and body weight gain, plasma triacylglycerol(TAG) and total fat masses. In a clinical study done on rats fed with high fat diet, shiitake mushroom intake prevented fat deposition and lowered triglycerides.Hence including 10g of shiitake mushroom supplement in our daily diet is believed to prevent obesity related metabolic disorders.
3) Inhibits the growth of cancerous cells
The basis of shiitake mushroom’s impressive health properties are complex carbohydrates called polysaccharides that build the immune system.These polysaccharides act by enhancing host defences rather than killing tumor cells directly. Hence, the components found in these mini fungi help the body to fight against cancer cells.
4) Lowers cholesterol and supports cardiovascular health
The food available in market today is ultraprocessed and loaded with trans fat and sugar. Continuous consumption of such food increases LDL or bad cholesterol in the body leading to cardiovascular and metabolic disorders.Clinical trials have proved that shittake mushrooms help in lowering bad cholesterol in mice. The bioactive components found in shittakes such as eritadenine and beta-glucans are believed to prevent the formation of cholesterol in liver and interfere with the absorption of cholesterol in blood stream.
5) Fights infections
This unique mushroom is found to contain a compound Called Lentinan which is a polysaccharide. Lentinan along with other bioactive compounds of shiitake mushrooms have antibacterial, antiviral, and anti fungal properties. Hence it can help in fighting various infections.
Read more: Common Allergies among Children
6) Inhibits thrombosis
Thrombosis is a medical condition where blood clot forms inside a blood vessel, obstructing the flow of blood through circulatory system. A compound found in shittake mushrooms called Lentionine, which also gives it a unique flavor has been studied to inhibit platelet aggregation. So it is a promising treatment for thrombosis.
7) Rich source of vitamin D2
Shiitake mushrooms in dried form are a storehouse of vitamin D2. A single 100g serving of shiitakes contain about 25% of daily requirement of vitamin D2.
8) Solves skin problems
Packed with antioxidant properties shittakes have components that help in fighting skin inflammatory conditions like eczema, acne and rosacea. The presence of vitamin D and selenium safeguards the skin from damages due to environmental conditions.
9) Prevents anemia
These mushrooms are good sources of iron and minerals that are essential for good health. Lack of iron can lead to extreme levels of fatigue and anemia in kids. So including these mini umbrellas would help combating anemia.
10) Supports digestive health
These are rich source of dietary Fibre and shiitakes promote gut immunity. A 100g of shiitake cobtains 2.5g dietary fibre, meeting 10% of daily requirement. Hence, this fibre rich food helps in thwarting-off constipation.
11) Boost energy and brain function
These tiny edible fungi are great source of B vitamins, especially B1 and B12, which help support adrenal function and turn nutrients from food to energy. They even improve cognitive performance.
Hence, shiitake mushroom is not only a delicious super food but also a treasure trove of goodness and health. The unique meat like flavour which it imparts makes it a great ingredient to be added to make a scrumptious meal.
Recipe with Shiitake Mushroom
A simple recipe is included below for you to give it a try
Shiitake mushroom soup :
3 and a half cup chicken broth.
1 pack fresh shiitake mushroom.
1 small bell pepper chopped.
1/2 cup pea pods.
1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves.
1 teaspoon soy sauce.
1/2 cup dried Chinese noodles.
- Mix all ingredients except noodles in 2-quart saucepan. Heat to boiling over medium heat.
- Boil 3 minutes.
- Add noodles. Heat to boiling; reduce Heat. Simmer uncovered for 3 minutes ;stirring occasionally.
Your soup is ready. Enjoy!!