Maitake Mushrooms Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Maitake mushroom

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Maitake (Grifola frondrosa) is a type of mushroom native to northeastern Japan. Also known as "hen of the woods," this feathered, frilly mushroom is often consumed as a food; like most mushrooms, it is low in calories, carbohydrates, and fat while providing some fiber. Maitake extract is also available as a dietary supplement.

Maitake Mushroom Nutrition Benefits

One cup of diced, raw maitake mushrooms (70g) provides 22 calories, 1.4g of protein, 4.9g of carbohydrates, and 0.1g of fat. Maitake mushrooms are an excellent source of beta-glucan fiber, vitamin D, and phosphorus. This nutrition information is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 22
  • Fat: 0.1g
  • Sodium: 0.7mg
  • Carbohydrates: 4.9g
  • Fiber: 1.9g
  • Sugars: 1.5g
  • Protein: 1.4g
  • Vitamin D: 20mg
  • Phosphorus: 52mg
  • Potassium: 143mg

Carbs

One serving of maitake mushrooms contains 4.9 grams of carbohydrates, making them a low-carb food. Mushrooms can substitute for carb-rich ingredients and foods (as well as higher-fat and higher-calorie foods such as red meat).

Fats

Maitake mushrooms contain negligible fats, with only 0.1 gram of fat per serving. However, cooking preparation will alter the fat content of mushrooms, especially if you use oils or butter in your preparation.

Protein

While packed with other nutrients, maitake mushrooms are a low-protein food. They contain only 1.4 grams of protein in a 1-cup serving.

Vitamins and Minerals

Similar to other mushroom varieties, maitake mushrooms provide vitamins and minerals. A single serving of maitake mushrooms has 20mg of vitamin D, 52mg of phosphorus, and approximately 143 mg of potassium.

Calories

You will find about 22 calories in a one-cup serving of maitake mushrooms.

Summary

Maitake mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D and other minerals including phosphorus and potassium. A serving of maitake mushrooms is nutrient-dense and delivers minimal calories, protein, and fat.

Health Benefits

Maitake mushrooms may offer a wide range of health benefits, whether you consume them as food or in supplement form. However, there is little research on how maitake and its nutrients behave in humans. Most research comes from lab or animal studies.

May Fortify the Immune System

A key component in maitake mushrooms is beta-glucan, a type of polysaccharide, a long molecule of carbohydrates found to affect the immune system. Beta glucan is a soluble fiber that provides digestive benefits and may boost immune function.

Although maitake supplements are often marketed to enhance immune function, there's currently a lack of clinical trials testing the effects of maitake in humans. Most of the studies have been laboratory studies.

May Slow Cancer Growth

Maitake is even being researched as a potential cancer-fighter. In laboratory research, scientists have found that maitake extracts may slow the growth of certain tumors. By spurring activity in immune cells (such as natural killer cells and T-cells), maitake is thought to help inhibit the growth of cancer cells. A component of beta-glucan known as the D-fraction has been found to have anti-tumor activity.

However, researchers have yet to demonstrate that maitake offers any cancer-fighting benefits in controlled clinical trials. Results so far are from lab studies.

May Reduce Blood Sugar Levels

Some animal studies suggest that maitake may reduce blood glucose levels. A preliminary animal study found that maitake mushroom extract improved insulin resistance. This health condition is known to raise the risk of type 2 diabetes (as well as heart disease). Insulin resistance occurs when the body fails to respond properly to insulin, a hormone that plays a key role in using blood sugar for energy.

May Lower Blood Pressure

Maitake may help lower blood pressure, according to animal-based research. For instance, a study on rats found that maitake helped protect against high blood pressure (in addition to enhancing insulin sensitivity and curbing some aspects of inflammation).

May Help Treat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

A preliminary study shows promise for people with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In the study, 80 patients took either took clomiphene citrate (Clomid, a fertility drug) or three tablets of a specific combination product containing maitake mushroom powder three times daily for three cycles.

The researchers found that the mushroom treatment improved ovulation cycle rates, but does not appear to be as effective as clomiphene in people with PCOS. However, there is potential for the treatment to be used when traditional treatments fail.

Allergies

Although allergies to mushrooms, including maitake mushrooms, are rare, people who have mold allergy should avoid mushrooms.

Adverse Effects

Consuming maitake mushrooms as food is generally considered safe. But little is known about the side effects or safety of regular or long-term use of maitake mushroom extract. 

However, there's some evidence that maitake mushroom supplements may interact with certain medicines (such as blood-sugar-lowering medications and blood-thinning drugs like warfarin). Avoid taking maitake supplements within two weeks of scheduled surgery.

It's important to keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals. Also, the safety of supplements in children, people who are pregnant or nursing, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established.

When It's Best

As with other mushrooms, the maitake variety are best in the fall. These mushrooms grow in certain regions of Europe as well as the Pacific Northwest area of the United States.

Storage and Food Safety

Maitake mushrooms should be stored in the refrigerator, where they will last for up to five days. Wipe clean before cooking or eating. Avoid freezing and thawing maitake mushrooms, as they will have a mushy consistency when defrosted.

Never consume foraged mushrooms unless you are absolutely certain they are safe; some mushroom varieties are toxic and it can be difficult to tell the difference among them.

How to Prepare

Maitake mushrooms are flavorful, extremely versatile mushrooms that can be roasted, sautéed, pickled or added to soups and other dishes. They can be used in addition to or in place of other mushrooms.

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11 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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