Asian mushrooms like Shitake, Maitake, Enoki and Oyster are excellent for immune regulation, plant-source iron and even heart health. Recent studies on the Shitake mushroom show that its iron is more bioavailable than other plant sources. If you have every experienced anemia, you may know that eating liver and taking a heme form of iron is most effective at raising your stores. However, if you are a vegetarian or don’t like to eat red meat, then Shitakes may be a great food to incorporate. An 8 oz serving contains roughly 20% of your daily requirement for iron.
As far as the common white button mushroom goes, Dr. Andrew Weil argues that they are not as potent in the anti-cancer compounds or the immune regulating compounds as the earthier and more flavorful Asian mushrooms are. Here is a little breakdown for you:
Shiitake: Animal studies have shown that these flavorful and readily available mushrooms have anti-tumor, cholesterol-lowering, and antiviral properties.
Enoki: These slender, mild-flavored mushrooms appear to have significant anti-cancer and immune-enhancing effects.
Maitake: These mushrooms may have anti-cancer, antiviral, and immune-enhancing properties. They may also reduce blood pressure and blood sugar. Try them grilled with soy sauce or coconut aminos.
Oyster: Less expensive — and less flavorful — than shiitakes, these mushrooms may also provide some protection against cancer. (source: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/types-of-mushrooms)
Try this Shitake saute for a healthy, flavorful side-dish:
- 1 lb fresh sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 3 TBS low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: 2 TBS each of fresh rosemary, oregano or feta cheese
- Chop garlic and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the potent allinin compound to activate
- Remove stems from mushrooms and slice.
- Heat broth in a stainless steel skillet. When broth begins to steam, add mushrooms and steam, covered, for 3 minutes.
- Remove cover and let mushrooms cook for 4 more minutes.
- Toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and whatever optional ingredients desired. This recipe can be served as a side dish or over fish or poultry.
To Your Best Health, Cassandra Mick, CNE
Read more about Cassandra’s approach to nutrition or schedule a free Nutriton Strategy Session at www.eatwellpdx.com