Mushrooms have been celebrated for thousands of years for their medicinal properties and as readily available sources of nutrition. They come in all colors, shapes, and sizes — each possessing unique characteristics and benefits.
Among the many types of mushrooms, a particular variety stands out for its impressive health benefits: the maitake mushroom.
Native to Japan, China, and North America, these mushrooms can be found in the wild, usually growing alongside oak, elm, and maple trees. Requiring damp, cool conditions, they typically sprout at the base of the trees, or on the ground around them.
Let’s explore why these mushrooms are so popular and what health benefits they can provide!
What Are Maitake Mushrooms?
Maitake mushrooms are also known as “dancing mushrooms” in Japanese because people were said to dance with joy after finding them in the wild.
These mushrooms can be large, growing up to three feet wide and weighing around 10 to 50 pounds. They’re also called King Mushrooms for this reason. They have a frilly appearance that distinguishes them from other typical mushroom shapes and are recognizable by their earthy fragrance, crunchy texture, and delicious taste.
These mushrooms have also been nicknamed the “hen-of-the-woods” mushroom as they resemble the fans of a hen’s tail. They have gray-brown caps with creamy undersides and belong to the polypore mushroom family.
Maitake mushrooms have been used by people in China and Japan for thousands of years as a source of protein and for their health benefits. Recently, they have also gained popularity in the West, owing to their range of benefits related to health, longevity, and vitality.
Maitake Mushroom Health Benefits
There are numerous health benefits of maitake mushrooms as they are rich in fiber and protein, and a great source of antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients. They are also fat-free, low-sodium, low-calorie, and cholesterol-free. Plus, these impressive fungi provide the body with essential copper, phosphorus, potassium, beta-glucans, minerals, and amino acids.
Here are other ways maitake mushrooms can be good for your health:
1. Promotes A Healthy Heart
Cardiovascular health is crucial to reduce the risk of heart attacks, stroke, blood pressure issues, tension, and other conditions associated with the heart and nervous system.
The beta-glucan present in maitake mushrooms can be highly beneficial in reducing cholesterol and mitigating the risk of heart disease.
Maitake mushrooms are also a rich source of potassium which is essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure.
This mushroom can also help improve blood flow, address hypertension, and is known to improve overall cardiovascular health.
2. Boosts the Body’s Natural Immune Function
Beta-glucan is not just helpful in supporting a healthy heart and functioning arteries. It also strengthens the immune system. This is because it increases the production of protein mediators, known as lymphokines, and secreted proteins known as interleukins — both of which are crucial for a better immune response.
When its compounds are extracted as maitake D-fraction, it can also help prevent and treat breast cancer by suppressing the growth of tumors through an increase of cells defending the body. Overall, this can help improve the body’s natural immunity against cancer, and help improve the effectiveness of proteins that fight the disease.
Maitake mushrooms thus possess the ability to help stimulate the immune system and inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
3. Helps Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Regulating blood sugar is crucial for preventing diabetes from becoming more severe. While insulin helps regulate blood sugar, diabetes can cause insulin resistance and lead to an unhealthy rise in blood sugar levels.
Maitake mushrooms have been found to have great potential in treating type 2 diabetes as they can aid with glucose regulation. They can also activate insulin receptors, thereby reducing insulin resistance for diabetes patients and making their condition more manageable. This is due to the presence of beta-glucan, a polysaccharide that helps improve insulin sensitivity and aid blood sugar regulation.
4. Improves Gut Health
Maintaining a healthy and balanced gut is crucial to improve your overall mental and physical health. Maitake mushrooms can be helpful in this aspect as they improve the microbial diversity within the gut and thus alleviate gastrointestinal disorders. They also help increase good bacteria and prevent viral infections that can lead to digestive issues, improving your overall gut health.
Their anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties are thus extremely helpful in maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal tract.
Maitake Mushroom Side Effects
Medicinal mushrooms are generally safe for consumption as long as they are fresh. If the mushrooms are stale, they become tough and difficult to digest, even though cooking can make them more tender.
In addition, some individuals may experience certain side effects while consuming maitake mushrooms such as:
- Stomach upsets
- Allergic reactions
Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor before consuming mushrooms, especially if you have a bleeding disorder, diabetes, hypotension, an autoimmune disease, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Making the Most of Maitake Mushroom Benefits with Supplements
Maitake mushrooms are highly beneficial for one’s health, however, they can be hard to find at the store when they are not in season. An easy way to ensure that you can consume maitake every day is to take it in supplement form.
MyPure™ Maitake Maitake provides 500 mg of 100% non-GMO, certified organic, fruiting body maitake mushroom extract. The mushrooms are hot water treated to break down the cell walls and maximize nutrient bioavailability. Simply take one capsule per day to improve your immune response, regulate your blood sugar, and reap the rest of the mushroom’s benefits!*
Maitake mushrooms are a great addition to your health regimen due to their immunity-boosting, anti-cancer, heart-promoting, and gut-enhancing properties. To ensure that your body gets the most of these benefits, take a maitake supplements. But be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before adding maitake mushrooms to your routine.