You’ve probably heard about kombucha, turmeric, and beets—three of the trendiest anti-inflammatory foods. But there’s another food to keep on your radar: mushrooms! Well, specifically shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes). Native to Japan, China, and Korea, these flavorful mushrooms are excellent sources of the minerals potassium, phosphorus, and zinc. A 2015 Journal of the American College of Nutrition study found that eating dried shiitake mushrooms every day resulted in improved gut immunity and decreased inflammation as evidenced by less C-reactive protein (a biomarker for inflammation). Technically a fungus, the shiitake warrants a space in your refrigerator. So, we pulled together some mushroom recipes to help get your gut health on track.
“Shiitake mushrooms have a positive effect on gut health because it blunts the signals of inflammation in the gut, which is critical for immune function and digestion,” says Dr. Robert Silverman, certified sports nutritionist and author of Inside-Out Health: A Revolutionary Approach to Your Body. “Add those Japanese medicinal mushrooms to your daily meals since they contain polysaccharides called glucans, which upregulate the immune system.”
Dr. Silverman adds that shiitake mushrooms contain an anti-cancer ingredient called AHCC. Check out three of his favorite gut-friendly shiitake mushroom recipes to boost your immunity.
Miso Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms
Yields: 1 serving
- 1 scallion
- 1⁄2 pint water (with or without a small amount of vegetable stock)
- 2 shiitake mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon miso
- 1 ounce firm tofu, diced
- Slice shiitake mushrooms. Slice green part of scallion to use for garnish later.
- Bring water (with stock if desired) to boil.
- Stir in miso paste and mushrooms, and then lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Pour into serving dish, add tofu, and sprinkle scallions on. Serve immediately.
Dietary Fiber: 2.5g
Sautéed Shiitake Mushrooms
Source: George Mateljan Foundation
Yields: 2 servings
- 1 pound fresh sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: 2 tablespoons each of fresh rosemary, oregano, or feta cheese
- Chop garlic and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Remove stems from mushrooms and slice.
- Heat broth in a stainless steel skillet. When broth begins to steam, add mushrooms and cover for 3 minutes.
- Remove skillet cover, and let mushrooms cook for 4 more minutes.
- Toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper plus whatever optional ingredients desired.
Dietary Fiber: 2.56g
Turkey Lettuce Wraps with Shiitake Mushrooms
Yields: 4 servings
- 2 cups water
- 2 ounces mai fun (angel hair) rice noodles
- 4 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 3 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 6 green onions, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped water chestnuts
- 4 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger root
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 12 leaves green leaf lettuce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Turn off heat; stir in rice noodles. Cover and allow noodles to soak until soft, 5-7 minutes. Rinse with cold water. Drain well.
- Heat 1 teaspoon of the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the mushrooms in the hot oil until browned and softened, about 2 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and reserve.
- Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of veggie oil in the pan. Cook and stir the turkey in the oil for 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in the green onions, water chestnuts, ginger, and garlic; continue to cook for 1 minute. Mix in the reserved mushrooms, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Simmer briefly to combine the flavors.
- Take the pan off the heat; stir in the rice vinegar, sesame oil, and orange zest.
- To assemble lettuce wraps, place a bit of turkey filling on each lettuce leaf and top with cooked noodles.
Dietary Fiber: 4.9g