Lentinula edodes is an edible mushroom more commonly known as the shiitake mushroom. The common name shiitake is Japanese, meaning "mushroom from the shii tree". The shii is a small evergreen tree that the little brown mushrooms grow on. The scientific name of the mushroom is derived from the compound lentinan, which is attributed with promoting a healthy immune system.
Long before medical research validated shiitake's contribution to longevity, this mushroom has been a common ingredient in many East Asian dishes. Like other edible mushrooms, Lentinula edodes is rich in fiber, which aids in digestion and excretion. It also contains only 4% calories from its 7% carbohydrates. As Lentinula edodes contains no fat, people can enjoy these mushrooms without guilt. Of course, anyone who has a history of allergy to mushrooms should avoid them.
Shiitake mushroom is rich in proteins and different vitamins. It contains thiamine or Vitamin B1, which is the essential micronutrient in preventing neurological disorders. The mushroom contains riboflavin or Vitamin B2, which is an essential nutrient for almost all cellular processes, especially the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.
The shiitake mushroom also contains niacin or Vitamin B3, which is the dietary substance necessary in preventing some skin disorders. Niacin is also found in tomatoes, potatoes, and asparagus. Some people opt for peanuts, beans, and other legumes as dietary sources of niacin.
Like many other species of mushroom, shiitake mushroom is also rich in Vitamin D, and can therefore be useful for young children who need Vitamin D but don’t get enough of it from their daily meals. Since Vitamin D is naturally produced upon the skin’s exposure to sunlight, people living in areas with minimal sunlight can suffer from deficiency in this nutrient. Vitamin D is also important for strengthening teeth and bones.
Shiitake mushroom is also rich in iron, making it desirable to people who suffer from iron deficiency disorders. The iron found in shiitake is in the ferrous gluconate form, which is helpful in increasing hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the blood protein that carries oxygen through the body.
Notable Nutritional Values in the Lentinula edodes