Portabella, shitake, enoki, oyster and chanterelle are just some of the varieties of wild mushrooms. Some of us may only be familiar with the white, button variety which can be bought in cans – but there is an entire, flavorful world of wild mushrooms out there.
Shitake mushroom is a particular variant which brings about a lot of benefits to one’s health. In Asia, this type of wild mushroom represents longevity, which is why they have become an instant hit when they entered the American market.
Iron, vitamin C, protein and dietary fibers are the nutrients which can be found in shitake mushrooms. A compound in these flavorful fungi called Lentinan – which is actually an approved drug in Japan – helps boost the immune system. Similarly, shitake mushrooms have the ability to produce Interferon which helps lower the blood cholesterol level, produce antiviral effects and boost the metabolism. These and other compounds which are found in this type of wild mushrooms are also a potent antioxidant, help prevent certain cancers and provide a dose of health benefits to the heart.
To cap it all off, shitake mushrooms have a wonderful, exotic flavor which makes them perfect as pizza toppings, as an ingredient in stir-fried vegetables, as a component in soups and is also great as a side dish.