Maitake is one of the worlds most useful functional mushrooms. Its name, translated dancing mushrooms, is an ideal description for its gorgeous overlapping caps, resembling a birds plumage. Because of its bird-like appearance, it is known in Europe and North America as “hen-of-the-woods”.
This feathery mushroom offers a broad array of health benefits, including the ability to support healthy blood sugar levels and immune health. If you are wondering how you can reap the benefits of maitake mushrooms, and how you can integrate them into your routine, heres a little bit of history about this superfood mushroom, as well as a few tips for taking them daily.
Quick History of Maitake Mushrooms
Maitake (Grifola frondosa) is native to China, Northeastern Japan, and North America, where it is found on the forest floor near the base of an oak, maple, or elm. Capable of growing up to more than 100 pounds, it has earned the nickname of the “king of mushrooms”. It was first discovered more than 2000 years ago in Japan by a group of Buddhist nuns and carpenters. Apparently, excited about the flavor, sights, and medicinal properties of this peculiar mushroom, they danced, and it is given its moniker as a result of that experience.
After its discovery, Maitake became a fixture in Chinese and Japanese herbology because of its healing and regenerative properties. As a medicinal mushroom, it is used in traditional Chinese medicine for improving the health of the spleen and stomach, and for helping calm the nerves. In 1979, Japanese mycologists created methods for growing both indoors and outdoors, and today, Maitake is one of the most widely used mushrooms worldwide.
Maitake Mushroom Benefits and Healthy Properties
Maitake mushrooms are nutrient-dense and useful as functional foods. Their nutritional value comes from amino acids, B vitamins, and minerals including copper, zinc, and phosphorus. As a functional mushroom, Maitake contains a spectacular amount of alpha- and beta-glucan polysaccharides, triterpenes, and other bioactive chemicals known to provide a wide array of health benefits.
1. Adaptogenic Support
Maitake is one of the tiny handful of functional mushrooms providing adaptogenic support. Adaptogens are substances that improve an individuals capacity for adaptation and recovery from stress. As a useful adaptogen, Maitake helps to promote natural balance and a healthy stress response in the body.
2. Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
Maitake has been shown to support healthy blood sugar levels. A water-soluble extract of maitake given to laboratory animals in a study supported an insulin response, leading to healthier blood sugar and insulin levels. This functional mushroom supports the metabolic health.
3. Supports Blood Cholesterol Levels
Maitake mushrooms fiber content helps with effective digestion. Studies on laboratory animals have shown the support that maitake provides in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
4. Supports Healthy Gut Flora
Maitake, as well as other mushrooms, contains lots of prebiotic fiber. Its polysaccharides support the diversity of microbes in your gut, which allows for beneficial bacteria to grow and contributes to healthy gut flora.
5. Supports Maintaining Healthy Weight
Through its combined benefits in supporting favorable gut flora, fiber content, and effects on digestion, buckwheat supports healthy weight control. By including it in your daily diet, you may support your body to maintain an effective metabolism and maintain healthy weight.
6. Supports Immune System
The beta-glucan content in maitake has immune-supportive effects. The bioactive polysaccharide in mushrooms supports both cell and humoral immune function. This helps your body fight off pathogens – especially helpful when a common cold is spreading at your office, or if you are under stress and your immune system is weakened.
Oxidation occurs through natural processes and functions in the body, and through exposure to some external toxins. When left unchecked, this process causes oxidative stress, which damages and ages the tissues in the body.
Antioxidants found in maitake mushrooms provide benefits to the body by neutralizing the free radicals that cause oxidative stress. Maitake supports the bodys responses to inflammation and oxidation, supporting healthy aging.
Finding High Quality Maitake Supplements
Maitake mushrooms are edible and are enjoyed by chefs and home cooks all over the world. With a mild, woodsy, eggplant-like taste, you can consume it daily no problem. It is particularly tasty in soups, stews, pasta dishes, ramen, casseroles, sauces, and stir-fries.
To make maitake a regular part of your health care routine, though, you need to have a trusted, accessible source. If you are looking for an easy, fast way to integrate the health benefits of maitake into your daily wellness regimen, try using it as a food additive.
Health by Mushrooms offers several varieties of the highest-quality, cultured mushrooms superfoods that we found on the market. Grown throughout its entire lifecycle in our indoor facility, we are proud of how these companies control the process from beginning to end. In the state-of-the-art clean room, which has filtered air and water, the mycologists are able to grow maitake mushrooms without the use of pesticides, heavy metals, environmental toxins, or microbes. After dehydration and milling, our products go through third-party testing to ensure the highest quality for our valued customers.
Options for Adding Maitake Mushroom Benefits to Your Day
As the leading manufacturer of whole-food, organic, powdered mushrooms, Om offers maitake both as curated blends with other functional mushrooms. The powder blends are simple to use, and you can add them to smoothies, juices, coffee, tea, oatmeal, eggs, and salads you can even bake with them. Some of the powdered mushroom blends are also available as capsules and functional drink mixes, which makes it easier to get the benefits of functional mushrooms on-the-go.