By: Don Penven
Sometimes the greatest health benefit appears in a very lowly form. Take mushrooms for example.
I’ve seen many a menu tout, “Tender, juicy steaks smothered in mushrooms.” But seldom do restaurants specifically name the mushrooms. Maybe that is because they buy whatever mushroom is plentiful and inexpensive at the time. After all, mushrooms are just fungi grown in dark, damp places.
We often add mushrooms to soups and we sprinkle them on salads. They find their way into sauces, and of course they adorn steaks and burgers cooked on the backyard grill. We seldom even consider that these food sources—neither vegetable or fruit—may contain a bounty of nutrition items.
One mushroom in particular is attracting considerable attention from nutritionists and health researchers: The Shiitake mushroom, which is native to the Far East, namely Japan, China and Korea. The oldest record regarding the shiitake mushroom dates back to AD 199. They have been cultivated for over 1,000 years. The first written record of shiitake cultivation can be traced to Wu Sang Kwuang in China, born during the Song Dynasty (AD 960–1127). (Wikipedia)
Over the ensuing millennia, shiitake mushrooms have found favor (and flavor) as a source of anti-oxidants. They are given credit for strengthening our immune systems and are credited with lowering cholesterol and even lowering blood pressure. As their popularity increases, so does their appearance in local super markets.
Research conducted at the University of Pennsylvania reveals that shiitake mushrooms are loaded with three key antioxidant minerals: Manganese, selenium and zinc. All three are thought to support our cardiovascular health.
The shiitake’s repeated ability to lower cholesterol is derived from D-eritadenine. And an added bonus is a strong level of potassium—needed to lower the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Additionally shiitakes offer excellent stores of iron and phosphorus along with vitamin B-2, B-5, B-6 and vitamin D.
Looking for ideas on reducing cholesterol and/or high blood pressure? Check out the articles listed to the right of this page. Here’s a good place to start!