Dirt brown, growing up to 100cm in height. It sprouts clustery branches of ruffled caps. In the wild, it looks like dead forest matter. Yet, this mushroom is being eaten all over the world to prevent cancer, boost the immune system and improve overall health.
The Ancient Superfood: Maitake (まいたけ)
Maitake, meaning “Dancing Mushroom”, has been making waves amongst the health-conscious since the 1980s. What makes maitake so popular is its incredible healing properties that have been found to improve the condition of severe illnesses. Like cancer, diabetes and auto-immune system diseases.
But maitake is NOT a new superfood fad.
In fact, the mushroom’s medicinal reputation goes way back in ancient Japan. Native to Japan, the “Dancing Mushroom” was sought after as a healing food. It was used to make tonics and improved a person’s vitality and wellness. It was also very rare.
The maitake’s rarity and health benefits made it so valuable that whenever a mushroom hunter found one (or a few), he would dance in joy. Thus, its namesake “Dancing Mushroom”.
Maitake’s Powerful Health Benefits
Nutrition-rich and full of vitamins and minerals, maitake has been widely researched for its effects on the immune systems, various cancers and other serious illnesses. Studies have shown that, compared to other mushrooms, maitake has better medicinal results in preventing cancer and treating health conditions because it can…
Boost The Immune System
Maitake is a powerful immunity booster, thanks to its key component: Beta-glucan. A sugar derived from fibre, beta-glucan stimulates the immune system and encourages the body to fight off infections and pathogens.
Fight & Prevent Cancer
Maitake contains a compound called D-fraction polysaccharides which has been shown to manage cancer. The compound has been linked to the fighting and suppression of tumour growth. It also increases the number of cells that fight against cancer.
Protection In Cancer Recovery
For patients undergoing radiation therapy, maitake polysaccharides offer radioprotection. This mushroom is able to speed up white blood cell recovery and improve cell function. This, in turn, prevents radiation-induced side effects.
Reduce Aging & Cell Damage
Maitake’s rich antioxidant content will refresh old, damaged skin. Antioxidants in the mushroom stimulates the growth of new cells and heals damaged skin. At the same time, it reverses the effects of ageing by improving skin health and rejuvenating its appearance.
Some animal studies are indicating that maitake has the ability to reduce blood glucose levels. Another preliminary study (on rats) found that maitake mushrooms improved insulin resistance which is helpful for diabetics.
Where To Get Maitake Mushrooms In Malaysia?
You can find maitake mushrooms in Malaysia at your local AEON grocery store. Supplied by the Yukiguni Maitake Co. Ltd., the mushrooms cost RM6 per box. Pretty affordable for a fungi with so many health benefits.
Yukiguni’s maitake mushrooms are farmed in a bio-facility, located in the mountains of Minamiuonuma City, Niigata in Japan. Cultivating maitake in a bio-facility has two advantages…
- They are cleaner. Maitake grown in a facility are protected from forest dirt,
larva, foreign particles and debri. In fact Yukiguni’s maitake are so clean, they
don’t need to be washed.
- They are consistently delicious. Controlled conditions in the facility along with fresh mountain air and water consistently produces high-quality, flavourful maitake.
How To Cook Maitake
Maitake has a pleasant chewy texture. Eaten on its own, it tastes sweet and woodsy with a recognisable umami flavour.
Cooking maitake is easy. The versatile mushroom can be stewed, grilled, baked, fried, sautéd and stir-fried. It also complements other ingredients well and can be used as a pizza topping or steamboat ingredient.
To show you how versatile maitake is, Yukiguni’s website has 15+ starter recipes for you to try (link to: https://www.maitake.co.jp/english/recipes/).
These recipes are easy to prepare (less than 45 mins) and can be served as a complete meal. They are also categorised by cooking style so you can enjoy your maitake with either Chinese, Japanese, Western and even, Italian influences!
Try Maitake Today!
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Learn More About Yukiguni Maitake: