Mushrooms are an excellent source of nutrition. Packed full of vitamins and valuable compounds, mushrooms support the human body in a multitude of ways. However, with over 50,000 species of fungi to choose from, some options are more impressive than others.
Maitake mushrooms might not be as well-known as the shiitake or Portobello, but they could be the answer to many health problems. Known as the “dancing” mushroom or Grifola Frondosa in Japan, this highly valuable product has had an impact on health and medicine for over 3,000 years.
Now available in the form of supplements, it’s easier than ever to access the benefits of Maitake mushroom, without huge dietary changes.
What is a Maitake Mushroom?
The Maitake mushroom is one of the most beneficial types of fungi in the world, offering everything from improved immune system performance, to enhanced blood sugar management. The Maitake is native to northern eastern Japan, China, and North America, and it often grows around the base of oak, elm, and maple trees.
Regarded “king of the mushrooms”, Maitake fungi appear in a huge range of traditional Chinese remedies. Science considers this mushroom as one of the most bioactive and safe.
Maitake contains an impressive quantity of triterpenes, polysaccharides, and other bioactive chemicals crucial for supporting good health. The beta-glucan content of the mushroom has immunomodulatory and antiviral properties to ward off pathogens, and the fungus is great for strengthening the immune system. As an adaptogen, Maitake helps to promote natural balance in the body too, reducing blood sugar levels and improving weight management.
Other nutritional benefits in the Maitake mushroom include:
- Vitamins B (especially B12) and C for immune system support
- Enzymes like amylase, pectinases, and lectins
- Antioxidants for improving detoxification
- Bioactive proteins – responsible for various bodily functions
- Ergosterol – the precursor for vitamin D
- Minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium
- Essential amino acids like threonine, alanine, and glutamine
Maitake Mushroom Benefits
There are plenty of Maitake mushroom benefits to explore, from the fact that the fungus is practically fat-free, to the ability to stock up on plenty of healthy fiber when adding this substance to a meal. For thousands of years, Japan and China have turned to the Maitake mushroom for longevity, health, and vitality, and scientists in the US are beginning to take notice too.
Maitake mushrooms are low in sodium and calories, and they’re a great way to reduce exposure to cholesterol too. At the same time, maitake mushrooms can:
- Support immune system functioning: As mentioned above, the unique makeup of Maitake mushrooms make them an excellent partner for the immune system, great for reducing the chances of disease and long-term ailments. The Maitake mushroom can improve the functioning of the immune system and encourage balance in the body too.
- Control blood sugar: Modern people use Maitake to assist in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. Studies using a fraction of this mushroom support its hypoglycemic activity helping maintenance of health blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. A clinical study showed that all seven diabetic patients demonstrated over 30% (30% – 63%) decline in their fasting blood glucose levels under a particular Maitake fraction regimen of 2-4 weeks.
- Reduce the risk of cancer: Maitake mushrooms are beginning to play a part in the treatment and prevention of cancer. In combination with chemotherapy, studies and health professionals evidence tumour regression, enhanced immune response, less secondary effects and improvements in life quality of cancer patients.
- Manage cholesterol: Maitake mushrooms are adaptogens that improve balance within the body. This makes them great for weight control, but it also means that they can help with lowering things like cholesterol too. Researchers found that powdered extract could reduce cholesterol levels in vivo models. It could also improve blood pressure by keeping arteries healthy.
On top of all that, further study into Maitake mushrooms suggests that this fungus could be helpful for supporting the metabolic system, reducing the risk of obesity and weight control problems.
Adding Maitake mushrooms to a routine
Maitake mushroom benefits make them an ideal addition to any healthy nutrition diet. However, these products aren’t particularly easy to get fresh. The flavour is very deep and earthy, which won’t appeal to all clients in search of a nutritional transformation.
The best way to get Maitake mushrooms into a healthy routine, is in the form of supplements. Nutraceuticals or functional food supplements based on one or more mushrooms are the ones that offer higher concentrations of the unique benefits and nutrients that each fungi species can offer. Additionally, these products don’t add any extra calories or fat to the diet.