Shiitake, scientific name Lentinula Edodes, are mushrooms native to East Asia, very popular especially in Japan and China but you can find them in the dried form anywhere. Shiitake are rich in beta-glucans, zinc, copper and selenium, all substances that enhance the defenses by stimulating the proliferation and activity of immune cells, as reported in the book "Anti Cancer Diet" by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber. These mushrooms help to raise a barrier against infection but also cancer cells. The shiitake mushrooms are also a help to control the excess of cholesterol, to protect the liver and the intestine by promoting the formation of a healthy gut flora. Given these characteristics, supplements based on shiitake mushrooms can be found, especially in order to strengthen the body in case of convalescence or to prevent cancers. The advice, however, is to take the healthy substances of mushrooms as much as possible through diet, because only eating the whole mushroom can provide the maximum benefit from the synergy of all substances. Since the shiitake mushrooms are on the market in the dried form, the soak is required, this procedure ensures the softness of the mushroom. Only at this point you can proceed with the cooking, you can add the shiitake to soups, for example to the miso soup, or use them as side dishes of rice or salads. Prefer organic shiitake mushrooms.