Shiitake: uses and properties

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Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) is a mushroom that has been well known in China and Japan for millennia and has become increasingly known in the West. Its name comes from Japanese and is formed by the words "take" (mushroom) and "shii" (a variety of oak in which it usually grows).

It is one of the most consumed mushrooms in the world and it is not surprising once you try it: its flavor and properties make it a great ally in our kitchen and in our medicine cabinet.

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Culinary uses

This mushroom grows on decaying matter, mainly oak wood, but also others. Warm, humid and mountainous areas are its favorite sites. It can be recognized by its beige and brown cap, which is soft to the touch.

They have a deep aroma, with notes of caramel, nutmeg and earth. It is meaty and smoky and falls into the umami flavor category. When buying them, we always recommend that they are preferably fresh, as their flavor will be softer and more delicate than in the case of dried ones.

Soups, stews or casseroles are some of the most popular recipes that incorporate shiitake, but they can also be steamed or sautéed, cooking methods that will enhance their flavor.

They can also be used in dough for hamburgers, croquettes and others. In addition, combined with soy sauce, cereals or tofu, they will give a tasty result that may resemble some soft meats.

Properties of shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake has a rather low energy and nutritional intake, which does not prevent it from having numerous properties. For example, it is rich in fiber, water and enzymes, important to combat constipation, maintain healthy intestinal flora and improve digestion.

It also contains antioxidants such as selenium, manganese and zinc, and essential amino acids, as well as B vitamins, especially B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9.

But above all, shiitake stands out as an immune system enhancer. thanks to lentinan, a polysaccharide that stimulates T-lymphocytes and macrophages.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine shiitake is one of the most used remedies. It is used to strengthen the chi (vital energy), among others.

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Food supplements

Because of all these properties, it is not surprising that there are food supplements on the market that incorporate it. This is the case of Protectium Defenswhich has the most innovative formula to support the proper functioning of the immune system.

Its formula contains reishi and shiitake mushrooms, as well as echinacea, which help maintain the health of the immune system. It also contains zinc and vitamin D, which contribute to the normal functioning of the immune system. In addition, its formula is enriched with the characteristics of lactoferrin 95%.

Protectium Defens provides 300 mg per day of shiitake extract 12:1 at 30% of polysaccharides, and 300 mg of Reishi 20:1 at 50% of polysaccharides, with a very high concentration of active ingredients. To produce 1 kg of shiitake extract, 12 kg of dried shiitake mushrooms are needed, i.e. 120 kg of fresh mushrooms. And to produce 1 kg of reishi extract, 20 kg of dried reishi mushrooms or 200 kg of fresh mushrooms are needed.

Have you tried it? Tell us in comments about your experience.