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Maitake Mushrooms: Low-Calorie Super Food

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Maitake mushrooms are mushroom varieties that are considered to be a nutrient-rich functional food, low in calories, and an antioxidant-rich diet.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Lalam Yadhidhya Rani

Published At April 19, 2024
Reviewed AtApril 19, 2024

What Are Maitake Mushrooms?

Maitake mushrooms also known as Grifola frondosa, are mushroom varieties originating from Japan. Maitake mushrooms are known to be whole foods or food flavoring agents in their powdered form. They are also available as dietary supplements due to the presence of nutrient-dense, low-calorie, and low-carbohydrate add-ons that can provide the body with several vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, which are less common in other plant foods. Based on the serving size, maitake mushrooms make for an excellent diet food as well as high in fiber. Hence they can be excellent low-calorie add-ons to any healthy, antioxidant-rich diet form.

What Is the Nutritional Content of Maitake Mushrooms?

A single cup of diced raw maitake mushrooms which is around 2.469 ounces would approximately contain around 21.7 kilo calories, a negligible 0.0046 ounces of fat, and around 0.17213 ounces of carbohydrates with a minimal 0.04797 ounces of protein. Maitakes are considered to be rich sources of vitamin D, phosphorus as well as potassium. The following nutrition information as per the information provided by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) is listed below:

  • Protein: 0.04797 ounces.
  • Vitamin D: 784 IU (international units).
  • Phosphorus: 0.0018271 ounces.
  • Potassium: 0.005044 ounces.
  • Carbohydrates: 0.17213 ounces.
  • Fiber: 0.06666 ounces.
  • Total Calories: 21.7 kilo calories.

The broad range of essential nutrient-rich fiber types in maitake mushrooms are the beta-glucans, chitin, and heteropolysaccharide substances. Though maitake mushrooms are not complete protein sources, as they lack some of the essential amino acids, they can provide a good quantity of vitamin D, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, and a rich amount of potassium. Maitakes are also great plant-based sources of choline which is important for sustaining neuromuscular health.

What Are the Health Benefits of Maitake Mushrooms?

The health benefits of maitake mushrooms include:

  1. Management of Diabetes: Many animal research studies demonstrated that the extract obtained from maitake mushrooms would bring improvements in insulin resistance in the body. Insulin resistance is a condition that occurs when the body cannot properly respond to the main blood sugar-regulating hormone in the system, insulin. Insulin resistance is one of the main causes or rather aids in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. Even though human research is limited, nutrition experts recommend mushrooms of any variety as a healthy add-on to the diabetic diet because they are excellent sources of vitamins and also high in fiber, additionally satisfying. Hence, this would be a beneficial add-on to the diabetic or prediabetic diet, particularly for managing diabetes.

  2. Sustains Cardiovascular Health: Due to the presence of beta-glucans in maitake mushrooms, they are known specifically for their anti-inflammatory effects along with their cardioprotective benefits. Mushrooms, in general, are themselves considered as great anti-inflammatory functional dietary sources. Hence consumption of any mushroom variety would help fight the process of systemic inflammation and heart disease that are interrelated.

  3. Boosts Immunity: Current nutrition research on maitake mushrooms indicates that they have potent bioactive compounds such as antioxidants and glutathione that can boost overall systemic immunity and general health. Preliminary medical research studies show that the consumption of one serving of mushrooms per single day would be a suitable replacement for approximately a single serving of processed or red meats (amounting to 3.5 ounces in measure).

  4. Sustains Cellular Health: Maitake mushrooms are known to contain essential protein sources (even though they are present in small amounts) and glycoproteins that hold the potency to boost protein metabolism but also can aid in an antioxidant boost and sustain cellular health.

  5. Inhibits Tumor Growth: Maitake mushrooms are known to have potential as dietary sources for anti-cancer activities. Current nutrition research attributes the evidence of maitake extracts to possibly slow down tumor growth in individuals by activating the immune cells of the body that tend to naturally inhibit cancer cell growth or by suppressing cancer-causing genes in cells. They can possibly stimulate the natural killer cells and T (thymus)-cells that boost immunity. Additionally, beta-glucans present in maitake mushrooms are known to possess anti-tumor properties.

  6. Decreases Risk of Chronic Diseases: Substituting healthy fiber-rich sources for processed or red meats can lower an individual's overall risk of developing chronic diseases or even cancers and subsequently decrease the risk of mortality.

What Are the Possible Interactions of Maitake Mushrooms?

Pharmacologic evidence exists to show that maitake mushroom extracts would be capable of interfering with types of blood sugar medications, regulators, or even blood thinner medications such as Warfarin. If an individual is on any systemic medications, consulting a registered health care professional before adding the maitake mushrooms or their supplements into the diet is necessary.

How Are Maitake Mushrooms Stored and Used?

Maitake mushrooms can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days in paper bags after purchasing them. As these mushrooms are usually covered in dust or some soil contamination like dirt, it is necessary to wash them thoroughly before cooking with it. One can also wipe the mushrooms thoroughly with a gentle cloth before cooking.

Mushrooms of any variety are not usually frozen, as this can certainly alter the water content present in them. The disadvantage of freezing mushrooms is that they tend to become soft when thawed. Maitake mushrooms can be used in versatile ways and especially for culinary preparation by roasting, sauteing, or pickling them. One can add these well-cooked mushrooms to soups, stews, salads, casseroles egg dishes, or omelets.


Maitake mushrooms make for a nutrient-rich add-on for any savory dish owing to their delicious and earthy flavors. It is also interesting to note that because they have a rather meaty texture, they can be used in preparing vegetable burgers and other plant-based meat alternatives that would be certainly more fiber-rich, satiating, and healthy options for meat eaters.

Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop
Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop



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