Maitake Mushrooms: Nutritional Values and Benefits

0
472
Last Updated on

Maitake mushrooms are among the most common edible mushroom varieties.

These mushrooms are an excellent source of nutrients, and research suggests they may potentially have additional benefits.

This article takes an in-depth look at the nutritional values and potential benefits of maitake mushrooms.

What Are Maitake Mushrooms?

Maitake Mushrooms On a Wooden Board.

Maitake mushrooms are a kind of polypore fungus.

In plain English, this means that they have a large body with lots of little holes/pores on their underside (1).

Maitake mushrooms typically grow close to the ground on the trunks of oak trees, and they grow around the world.

However, the main growing areas for the mushroom are Canada, temperate hardwood forests in China and Europe, North-Eastern Japan, and the North-Eastern region of the United States. The fungus is commonly found around the seasonal transition from Summer to Fall/Autumn (2, 3).

It is possible to buy ready-to-eat Maitake mushrooms around the world, but they are mainly popular in East Asian cuisine.

Depending on the specific locality, there are many different names that people use for maitake mushrooms, including:

  • Grifola frondosa: the scientific name for the fungus
  • Dancing mushroom: the English translation of the Japanese name ‘maitake’
  • Hen of the woods: supposedly because the mushroom bears a visual resemblance to the feathers of a hen
  • Ram’s head
  • Sheep’s head
  • Signorina mushroom: an Italian name for the mushroom

Taste

Maitake mushrooms have a firm and chewy texture, but they are also quite juicy, and they have a strong mushroom flavor.

The flavor is more intense than mushrooms like cremini, but they’re not quite as rich as shiitake mushrooms.

They are also good at absorbing the flavors of other foods, which is why they are often used in Japanese nabe (hot pot) dishes.

Key Point: Maitake mushrooms are a popular edible mushroom, and they are particularly common in Japanese cuisine.

Nutrition Facts

Based on data from the USDA’s FoodData Central database, here are the nutritional values for maitake mushrooms (4).

The daily values have been calculated using USDA nutrient data and the FDA’s published values (4, 5).

Maitake Mushrooms: Nutrition Facts Per 100g (3.5 oz) Serving
NameAmount% Daily Value
Calories31 kcal1.6%
Carbohydrate6.97 g2.3%
  Fiber2.70 g10.8%
  Sugars2.07 g
Fat0.19 g
  Saturated0.03 g0.2%
  Monounsaturated0.03 g
  Polyunsaturated0.09 g
Protein1.94 g3.9%

Vitamins

  • Vitamin D: 140% DV
  • Niacin (B3): 41% DV
  • Riboflavin (B2): 18% DV
  • Thiamin (B1): 13% DV
  • Choline: 9% DV
  • Folate: 5% DV
  • Pantothenic acid (B5): 5% DV
  • Vitamin B6: 4% DV
  • Vitamin E: <1% DV

Minerals

  • Copper: 28% DV
  • Zinc: 7% DV
  • Phosphorus: 6% DV
  • Potassium: 4% DV
  • Selenium: 4% DV
  • Manganese: 3% DV
  • Magnesium: 2% DV
  • Iron: 2% DV
  • Calcium: <1% DV
Key Point: Maitake mushrooms provide a broad range of essential nutrients.

Benefits

Maitake mushrooms offer some good nutritional benefits, and research also suggests they may have further potential benefits.

A Good Food Source of Vitamin D

There are three ways to get vitamin D: sunshine, food, and vitamin D supplements.

Unfortunately, though, not many foods contain vitamin D.

However, certain foods, such as oily fish and mushrooms, do provide this essential nutrient (6).

On this note, according to the USDA, maitake mushrooms offer higher amounts of vitamin D than any other mushroom (7).

The USDA’s FoodData database shows that maitake mushrooms provide 1123 IU (28 mcg) of vitamin D per 100 grams. This vitamin D content is equal to 140% of the recommended daily value (4, 5).

Key Point: Maitake mushrooms are a rich source of vitamin D.

Low In Calories and Nutrient-Dense

Despite containing a broad range of nutrients, maitake mushrooms are very low in calories. These mushrooms provide significant amounts of B vitamins, vitamin D, and copper for only 31 calories per 100 grams.

As a result, they are one of the most nutrient-dense food options.

Furthermore, the mushrooms are low in carbohydrate, low-fat, and suitable for vegans.

Therefore, these mushrooms can fit into almost every popular diet plan. Among other popular ways of eating, maitake mushrooms are compatible with:

  • Low-carb diets
  • Low-fat diets
  • Plant-based diets
Key Point: Maitake mushrooms are low in calories, nutrient-dense, and suitable for all popular dietary patterns.

May Have Potential Benefits For Heart Health

There have been several studies on how maitake mushrooms may affect markers of cardiovascular health.

In a study on rodents, supplementation with whole maitake mushroom powder led to significant decreases (-22%) in triglyceride levels (8).

Furthermore, other rodent trials have found that maitake mushroom extract may help to lower age-related hypertension and reduce systolic blood pressure (9, 10).

However, it is essential to note that rodent trials using maitake extracts do not infer that humans consuming whole maitake mushrooms would experience the same results.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of human trials on maitake mushrooms in this area. As a result, adequate human trials are necessary before claiming anything other than a “potential” benefit for cardiovascular health.

Key Point: Rodent studies show that maitake mushrooms and their extracts can improve various markers of cardiovascular risk. However, there is a lack of human trials in this area to confirm any potential benefit.

Maitake Mushrooms Contain Bioactive Polysaccharides

Similar to the famed shiitake mushrooms, maitake mushrooms contain various bioactive compounds.

Maitake mushrooms contain beta-D-glucans, an interesting polysaccharide that may have a variety of benefits.

For more information on these compounds, a recent review paper examined their potential immunomodulatory effects (11).

This review noted that existing preclinical and clinical studies have demonstrated that these beta-glucans may have anti-cancer benefits, such as the ability to slow tumor growth (11).

However, according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, more relevant human studies are necessary to better evaluate these potential benefits (12).

Key Point: Research is ongoing regarding the potential benefits of maitake mushroom polysaccharides.

How to Use Maitake Mushrooms

Similar to all mushrooms, maitake mushrooms are quite versatile and can be used in many different ways.

However, they absorb other flavors well, so they work well in soups and stews.

In Japan, maitake mushrooms feature in a variety of hot pots, which are known as ‘nabe.’

These dishes are usually a combination of meat and various vegetables cooked in a tasty broth.

For an example recipe, there is an excellent recipe for mizutaki nabe here. This dish features chicken, maitake mushrooms, vegetables, kelp, and a variety of seasonings.

For more ideas on how to cook with maitake mushrooms, see here.

Where To Buy

Maitake mushrooms, either in their dried or fresh form, can sometimes be found in large grocery stores and supermarkets.

Aside from this, the mushrooms can be quite challenging to find. However, a quick online search should reveal local stockists.

Final Thoughts

All in all, maitake mushrooms have a lot to offer – both in terms of taste and nutritionally.

They’re also an excellent way to get some extra vitamin D.

These tasty mushrooms work well in a wide range of recipes, and they provide a lot of beneficial nutrients too.

Related Articles

9 Delicious Types of Edible Mushrooms

What Are Cremini Mushrooms and Do They Have Benefits?

Shiitake Mushrooms: Nutrition Facts and Potential Benefits

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments