Shimeji Mushrooms – An Introduction and Health Benefits

Shimeji mushrooms are rich in nutty flavor that transforms slightly towards the sweeter side after cooking. These mushrooms are one of the most desired ones as they are popular in Japanese cuisine. They add a mild, meaty flavor to the soups, stews, and even salads. Shimeji mushrooms pair well with rice dishes as well when they are stir-fried or roasted. These mushrooms are not supposed to be eaten raw, as they taste very bitter when raw. 

Shimeji mushrooms have a firm taste, and they taste just amazing when sautéed. They are one of the best choices for healthy eating as they can take the taste of a dish to the next level. They add an exquisite meaty and nutty flavor to cuisines along with fueling our body with essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. 

How do Shimeji Mushrooms Look Like? 

Shimeji mushrooms are usually found growing on Oak or Beech trees. They appear to have a united stem with small caps varying in white or brown colors as they grow in clusters. Their caps are small, and the more mature Shimeji mushrooms get, the more they lose the color of their caps. 

Key Health facts about Shimeji Mushrooms

  • Shimeji mushrooms are the best choice for low-calorie, weight-loss, or low-sodium diet. They contain a low-calorie density which implies that they are non-fattening. 
  • Shimeji mushrooms are a great source of important minerals, such as zinc, copper, and iron; while also being the best source of vitamin D. 
  • These mushrooms pack a punch of nutrients and minerals without the risks of high sodium content. 
  • Shimeji mushrooms are ideal for healthy eating as they have minimum cholesterol or saturated fat.
  • One thing that Shimeji mushrooms are rich in is the Umami compound – which refers to the compound that is responsible for enhancing the flavor and taste of the food. 

Nutritional Profile of Shimeji Mushrooms 

If you want to please your taste buds while not putting your body at risk, then Shimeji mushrooms are your best choice. They are rich in protein – which can let you easily get over that high-cholesterol meat in your refrigerator, without compromising on the taste. They are an excellent source of dietary fiber which is essential for a healthy meal and for keeping you energetic. 

The Shimeji mushrooms are also rich in minerals such as potassium, iron, zinc, and calcium that make your bones strong and increase the blood flow. According to myfitnesspal, 100 grams of shimeji mushrooms contain:  

  • 21 calories
  • 6 grams carbs
  • 0 fat
  • 3 grams of protein
  • 4 grams of Dietary Fiber
  • 3 grams of sodium
  • 0 cholesterol
  • 5% iron 

Health Benefits of Shimeji Mushrooms

  • Low in Cholesterol 

Being rich in dietary fiber, shimeji mushrooms, also work wonders for lowering the cholesterol levels. The fiber increases the excretion of bile acids and also lowers the insulin in the blood. This helps in curbing the serum cholesterol levels and concentration. The fiber also decreases the possibility of atherosclerotic lesion formation.  

  • Prevents from Parasitic Infections

In addition to being full of all the essential nutrients required by our bodies, the shimeji mushrooms also provide us with the benefit of preventing from parasitic invasions. Panagrellus redivivus is a bovine infecting larvae that has devastating effects on animals and humans. However, enzymes in the shimeji mushrooms have the ability to fight these parasites and protect our bodies from parasitic diseases.  

  • Potential treatment for cancer 

Still requiring a plethora of research evidence to prove anything, initial researches probing the Shimeji mushrooms have proved these mushrooms to be extremely useful in inhibiting the growth and proliferation of cancerous cells in our body. Hypsin in the Shimeji mushrooms has demonstrated inhibition of numerous cancerous cells such as sarcoma, breast cancer, leukemia, and lung carcinoma cells. 

Although a lot more research evidence is needed to put a definitive stamp on shimeji mushrooms as the best cancer prevention option, they are considered to be effective anticancer agents

  • Antifungal 

Consuming shimeji mushrooms fuels our body with a protein that inhibits the activity of ribosome called Hypsin. This protein has shown effective antifungal properties that can help in combating against harmful pathogens such as Botrytis cinerea. 

  • Antibacterial properties 

Two important components in the shimeji mushrooms known as phenolic and flavonoid have antibacterial effects. They have proven to be extremely effective in protecting the body against numerous bacteria such as staphylococcus and Escherichia coli.  

  • Good for curbing weight increase and diabetes 

Shimeji mushrooms are filled with components such as resveratrol that are extremely beneficial in reducing fat deposition from our body. This compound does not let our body shed healthy weight as it activates an obesity-related gene that works wonders in controlling obesity. 

Moreover, consumption of the shimeji mushrooms also helps decrease the levels of fasting plasma insulin and plasma glucose. This property of the shimeji mushrooms helps regulate the glycemic index in our bodies and enhances the antioxidants for increasing insulin resistance. 

Possible Side Effects of Shimeji Mushrooms 

No possible side effects of shimeji mushrooms have been reported in any study. Nevertheless, it is essentially important to know that these mushrooms quickly deteriorate when not stored properly. So, cautions must be taken when storing them for a long time and cooking them. Also, eating raw shimeji mushrooms is not recommended. 

In short, shimeji mushrooms are overall very healthy to consume. 

Quick Tips for Selecting, Storing, and Preparing Shimeji Mushrooms

  • Availability of the shimeji mushrooms is not bounded by any particular season or weather. They can be found at any time of the year in the stores near you. 
  • When selecting shimeji mushrooms, be sure to pick the ones that are without any bruises or blemishes and are firm when you touch them.
  • When storing these mushrooms, always put them in a sealed and airtight container so that they can remain as good as fresh for up to a week when you need them. 
  • Cutting these mushrooms is easy. You have to cut off the base and separate their stems. 
  • Wash very lightly with a minimal amount of water so that the mushrooms do not absorb water and become limp.
  • You can use shimeji mushrooms as a side dish or even as the main ingredient in your dish, depending on your preference. These mushrooms pair up extremely well with soups, noodles, and salads. 

Final Thoughts 

Not all the food choices that we make are wise. However, we should always strive to eat healthy along with satiating our palette. Shimeji mushrooms are a perfect choice for satisfying your taste buds while also taking care of your health. They are nutritious and loaded with beneficial minerals such as zinc, iron, and potassium. They are most suitable for a low-calorie and low-sodium diet due to their amazing health benefits.