Maitake Mushrooms grow wild in parts of Japan, China, and North America at the bottom of Oak, Maple and Elm trees. Although they have been famed for their medicinal properties in Japan and China for thousands of years, they have only gained popularity in the Western world in the last quarter century. Read on to find out everything you need to know about the benefits of eating Maitake mushrooms.
‘Maitake’ means ‘dancing mushroom’ in Japanese, and this type of mushroom is said to take its name from people dancing with happiness when they found it growing in the wild, such are its health-giving properties.
These mushrooms are adaptogens, which help the body to fight off mental or physical problems. They also assist the body with its natural ability to balance its systems when these have become unregulated. They are considered to be the ultimate superfood, as they’re high in antioxidants, beta-glucants, vitamins B and C, copper, potassium, fiber, minerals and, amino acids. Along with all types of mushroom, Maitake is a low-calorie and low-sodium mushroom, along with being fat and cholesterol free. Research on animals’ points to the fact that Maitake mushrooms could be effective in treating certain illnesses in humans, including cancer.
More research needs to be undertaken, in particular on human subjects, but initial findings are promising! Researchers have also discovered that maitake extract can lower cholesterol and increase fatty acid in the body, leading to an increase in energy. Further study is needed, but these findings point to the possibility that these mushrooms could also help maintain healthy arteries and a well-functioning circulatory system. Maitake mushrooms have also shown positive effects on rats with type 2 diabetes. During one study, consuming them altered the levels of glucose found in the animal’s bloodstreams. Potentially, they could help with the management of diabetes in humans, however, further research must be carried out to prove this theory. There is also anecdotal evidence to suggest that these mushrooms may help treat cold and flu viruses, ease the harsh side effects of chemotherapy, help correct both high and low blood pressure and might also enhance the overall function of the immune system in humans.
Maitake mushrooms can be bought fresh or freeze-dried, in most large supermarkets and in many health food stores, along with some independent greengrocers and international food stores. Because of their health-giving properties, these mushrooms can also be found in a wide range of dietary supplements. It is said that taking Maitake mushroom supplements alongside vitamin C can help to increase expected benefits.
Although allergic reaction or upset stomach is possible after eating Maitake mushrooms, reported instances are rare. If you have diabetes, you should check with your doctor before ingesting Maitake, as this type of mushroom may have an effect on your blood sugar. Your blood pressure may also be lowered, so make sure you check with your doctor before eating Maitake if you suffer from hypotension. You should also refrain from eating Maitake mushrooms if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, if you have a bleeding disorder or if you have surgery scheduled within two weeks.
Monitor your reactions carefully when taking any supplement and consult your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms or start to feel unwell. Your doctor can also tell you the correct dosage of any supplement for your height, weight and the general state of your health. Although eating raw Maitake mushroom is possible, these are often more digestible when cooked well. Older mushrooms can be tough and difficult to stomach, so be sure to buy the freshest you can.