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Shiitake Mushroom Nutrition

Mushrooms are nutritious and low in calories: They are a good source of B vitamins, especially niacin and riboflavin, and rank the highest among vegetables for protein content. But because they are low in fat and calories, Western nutritionists mistakenly considered them of no food value (a fresh pound has only about 125 calories). Yet in dried form, mushrooms have almost as much protein as veal and a significant amount of complex carbohydrates called polysaccharides. One of the most valuable mushrooms, both nutritionally and flavor-wise, is Lentinus edodes, commonly called shiitake.

Nutritional Qualities

The proteins in shiitake are composed of 18 types of amino acids, including 7 of the 8 essential amino acids in a ratio similar to the 'ideal protein' for humans. Of these amino acids, shiitake is especially rich in leucine and lysine, which are deficient in many grains. For people on a vegetarian diet, shiitake represents an excellent protein supplement.

Shiitake is also rich in enzymes, and researchers have found over 30 enzymes in shiitake. Two of particular note are amylase, important for proper digestion, and cellulase, which dissolves fiber. The wealth of enzymes in shiitake can help with deficiencies of these important compounds.

Shiitake contains significant quantities of the B vitamins thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. In its sun dried form it has the highest content of vitamin D of any plant food. Only in fish, fowl, meat and eggs are higher levels of vitamin D found.

 Nutritional analysis of typical Dry Shiitake

Moisture

Protein

Fat

Carbohydrate

Fiber

Ash

Energy(kcal)

15%

15-18%

1-2%

65-75%

7-14%

5-7%

333-375

data expressed in percentage of dry wt.

Mineral and Vitamin content of Shiitake

Thiamine

Riboflavin

Niacin

Ca

P

Fe

Na

K

0.4

0.9

11.9

12

171

4

19

380

data expressed as milligrams per 100 gram dry wt.

Amino Acid composition of typical Shiitake

Protein

17.5

Argenine

348

Isoleucine

218

 

Histidine

87

Leucine

348

 

Alanine

305

Lysine

174

 

Aspartic Acid

392

Methionine

87

 

Glutamic acid

1349

Cystine

nd

 

Glycine

218

Phenylalanine

261

 

Proline

218

Tyrosine

174

 

Serine

261

Threonine

261

 

Valine

261

Tryptophan

nd

 

 

 

nd = non detected
data expressed as milligrams per gram of crude protein nitrogen