Maitake mushrooms, also commonly known as the dancing mushroom, are a type of edible mushroom that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine.
This is considered a medicinal mushroom that is known to have several health benefits. If you’re not yet familiar with maitake mushrooms, this blog post will explore the maitake mushroom and its potential health benefits.
What Is a Maitake Mushroom?
Maitake mushrooms are a type of edible fungi that is native to East Asia. These mushrooms have a wide, fleshy cap that is often compared to the appearance of a flower.
In Japanese, “Maitake” means “dancing mushroom,” as people danced in celebration upon discovering this unique mushroom.
Maitake mushrooms have been used for centuries in traditional medicine, as they are believed to have many beneficial properties that can help improve overall health and well-being.
While they can be cooked and consumed in various ways, maitake mushrooms are often dried or used to make extracts and supplements for different health purposes.
6 Health Benefits of the Maitake Mushroom
These medicinal mushrooms have long been regarded as a superfood for a good reason. Here are some of the health benefits that maitake mushrooms provide:
1. Boosts the Immune System
Maitake mushroom extracts have been shown to boost the immune system and help fight off certain infections, including cancer-related ones.
Since the immune system is the body’s primary line of defense, we must give it the nutrients and support it needs to function correctly.
In a study published in the Annals of Translational Medicine, maitake mushrooms were shown to stimulate an immune response, especially when paired with shiitake mushrooms, a type of edible fungus commonly found in East Asia.
And since the Grifola Frondosa also contains Beta Glucan, a type of fiber that promotes healthy gut bacteria, maitake mushrooms may also help improve your digestive system’s health.
2. Improves Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Symptoms
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder that affects millions of women worldwide. It usually causes hormonal imbalances, weight gain, and other symptoms that can significantly impact a woman’s overall quality of life.
Research has shown that maitake mushroom extract may help improve the symptoms of PCOS by inducing ovulation in women who suffer from this disorder.
This also proves that maitake extracts can combat infertility experienced by up to 17% of women globally.
3. May Help Prevent Cancer
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, with millions of people affected by various types of cancer every year. All cancer types have been associated with increased mortality risk and cancer growth.
However, maitake mushrooms may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, especially breast and prostate cancer. This is thanks to maitake’s rich source of antioxidants, including beta-glucans, which boost the immune system’s response against free radicals – known to cause cancer.
Studies show that the Maitake D Fraction kills breast cancer cells and suppresses tumor growth.
4. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
High blood pressure can lead to serious health issues such as heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke.
Maitake mushroom extract may help lower blood pressure by improving the body’s sensitivity to insulin and reducing blood glucose levels. This is thanks to maitake’s rich content of polysaccharides that may also improve cardiovascular health by lowering LDL cholesterol levels.
A study in Japan also showed that eating maitake mushrooms for eight weeks can help reduce blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol.
5. Aids Weight Loss and Management
With maitake’s rich fiber content, it may also help promote weight loss by keeping you full for more extended periods, thus making you less likely to reach for a snack between meals.
Maitake also contains beta-glucans which boost the body’s metabolism and help reduce fat storage. And maitake extract has been shown to inhibit an enzyme called pancreatic lipase, which breaks down fatty acids for absorption.
This means that maitake can block the production of fats in your body and prevent fat from being absorbed by your digestive system.
How to Use Maitake Mushrooms
Grifola Frondosa, commonly known as maitake mushrooms, can be easily incorporated into your diet.
While maitake cannot be readily available in the supermarket or grocery store, specialty stores may carry maitake mushroom supplements or extracts.
Maitake mushroom powder is also a good option if you prefer to use maitake for cooking or baking recipes. Add maitake powder to your favorite vegetable, chicken, or fish dish for a nutrient-rich flavor boost.
You only need to remember that this medicinal mushroom has a strong, unique flavor, so you may need to adjust it depending on your taste preferences and recipe demands.
When cooking maitake mushrooms, you may want to:
- Saute maitake slices in butter or olive oil until lightly browned.
- Add maitake to stir-fry dishes or soups for added texture and flavor.
- Blend maitake mushroom powder into smoothies and juices for a nutrient-rich boost.
- Pizza, pasta, and risotto dishes are great recipe options, including maitake mushrooms.
Risks and Side Effects of Maitake Mushroom
Our immune function weakens as we age, making maitake mushrooms a great supplement to incorporate into your diet.
However, maitake mushrooms may cause minor side effects, including nausea, vomiting, and stomach upset. If you experience these symptoms after eating maitake mushrooms, try cutting back on your dose to see if this helps reduce the side effects.
In addition, maitake extract may interact with certain medications or supplements – such as antidiabetic drugs and blood pressure medications – so it is essential to speak with your doctor before using maitake mushrooms for medicinal purposes.
The medicinal properties of maitake mushrooms have been used for centuries in traditional Asian medicine to help boost the immune system and improve overall health.
Thanks to maitake’s powerful antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and ability to reduce blood sugar levels, this medicinal mushroom may be helpful for many health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
So if you’re looking for a natural way to boost your health and reduce your risk of serious diseases, maitake mushrooms may be just the supplement you need. With their unique flavor profile and range of health benefits, maitake mushrooms are an excellent addition to any diet!