Mushrooms, though less popularly consumed in various parts of the world, are a great for health. There is a great variety of mushrooms, and many of us wouldn’t be as aware of all the kinds of mushrooms that might be available. Maitake mushrooms, also popularly known as “hen of the woods” or “sheep’s head”, is one of those medicinal mushrooms that have a lot of health benefits to offer.
Maitake mushrooms prefer to grow under oak trees and are polypore. This gives them a more unique appearance when compared with their other mushroom counterparts. The good news is- unlike many kinds of medicinal mushrooms that are not culinary-friendly, you can make some amazing recipes with maitake mushrooms. With that being said, here are 5 amazing health benefits that maitake mushrooms offer.
They boost immunity
For people who have a weak immune system, maitake mushrooms can help a great deal. Maitake mushrooms are made of certain polysaccharides that make the B and T cells, natural killer cells, and macrophages function more actively. Maitake mushrooms are also capable of decreasing the activity of the immune system in case there is an auto-immune disease and increasing the functioning in case there is a microorganism invasion. All of this is a complete package for a better functioning immune system.
They help manage diabetes
Maitake mushrooms can help manage diabetes, when taken on a regular basis. For people who don’t have diabetes, they can help by decreasing the chances of developing diabetes. An enzyme called alpha-glucosidase causes the conversion of starch and sugar into glucose. Maitake mushrooms have the ability to inhibit the release of this enzyme. Besides this, maitake mushrooms also increase insulin sensitivity in individuals. Thus, maitake mushrooms serve as a better alternative compared to diabetes medicines, which are packed with various side-effects.
They are great anti-oxidants
One of the most significant maitake mushroom benefits comes from their anti-oxidizing property. A process known as oxidation that occurs in the cells is capable of destroying cells and causing oxidative stress. Free radicals and toxins present in the cells are responsible for this process. maitake mushrooms have compounds that attack these free radicals and toxins, thus saving the cells from the process of oxidation. Thus, our cells stay healthy, and in a longer run, the brain cells are sustained. This reduces the chances of developing cognitive disorders, like Alzheimer’s disease.
They are a good source of Vitamin D
In colder countries, most people suffer from a deficiency of vitamin D. Even so, out of all the vitamins, most people are devoid of the needed amounts of vitamin D globally. If you look at the food sources of vitamin D, maitake mushrooms are one of them, which apparently are lesser known for this benefit. maitake mushrooms have an abundance of Vitamin D2. To increase the amount of vitamin D2 in the maitake mushrooms you bring home, place them under sunlight with them cut into slices.
They can prove helpful in dealing with cancer
Maitake mushrooms might as well be capable of protecting you from various kinds of cancers, and is regarded as one of the best natural agents providing immunity against cancer. Again, the credits go to certain polysaccharides present in maitake mushrooms that greatly enhance the immunity of the body against cancer. Specifically, a polysaccharide known as D-fraction helps in enhancing the activity of helper and cytotoxic T cells and macrophages. These cells are the ones that fight tumor cells and keep cancer under control.
These are the benefits of maitake mushrooms. You can either cook them or have them in the form of supplements. Since cooking maitake mushroom on a regular basis wouldn’t be possible, it is highly suggestible to have maitake mushroom supplements on a daily basis. This will help you stay in a good shape and fight many disease with as a result of a better immunity.