SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS

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Shiitake mushrooms are traditionally added to miso soup or try sautéing mushrooms with onions and garlic. Serve as a side dish or as a topping, or To give your vegetable stock an extra depth, add dried shiitake mushrooms. Mushrooms are very porous, so if they are exposed to too much water they will quickly absorb it and become soggy. Therefore, the best way to clean mushrooms without sacrificing their texture and taste is to clean them using minimal, if any, water. To do this, simply wipe them with a slightly damp paper towel or kitchen cloth.

Shiitake mushrooms are an excellent source of selenium and a very good source of iron. They are also a good source of protein, dietary fibre and vitamin C. Recent studies have traced shiitakes’ legendary benefits to an active compound contained in these mushrooms called lentinan. Among lentinan’s healing benefits is its ability to power up the immune system, strengthening its ability to fight infection and disease. Against influenza and other viruses, lentinan has been shown to be even more effective than prescription drugs; it even improves the immune status of individuals infected with HIV, the virus that can cause AIDS. L-ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant, has been discovered in mushrooms, thanks to a new analytical method capable of identifying this antioxidant in plant material. In research presented at the 2005 American Chemical Society meeting in Washington, D.C., an American research team revealed that mushrooms contain higher concentrations L-ergothioneine than either of the two dietary sources previously believed to contain the most: chicken liver and wheat germ.

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