Oyster Mushrooms – An Introduction and Health Benefits

Pleurotus ostreatus, commonly known as oyster mushrooms, are one of the most common edible mushrooms that you can easily find in the stores near you. Available in whole form only, these mushrooms are traditionally used as one of the main ingredients in Chinese herbal medicine. The oyster mushrooms look like oysters and almost have the same taste. They are an eminent ingredient in numerous popular chef-style dishes. So, with oyster mushrooms in your kitchen, you are in for a delectable treat while actually providing your body with essential nutrients and minerals. 

The Nutrition Profile of the Oyster Mushrooms 

The oyster mushrooms are packed with the most needed minerals, dietary fibers, and carbohydrates. It also contains amino acids, such as aspartic acid, glutamic acid, and arginine – that are the building blocks of our body tissues.

The oyster mushrooms are loaded with water and high in minerals and vitamins – which makes them the best option for a low-calorie diet. They contain a healthy amount of vitamin C, A, B2, B1, D, and niacin along with pertinent minerals such as potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium. 

According to the USDA National Nutrient data base, 100 grams of oyster mushrooms contain:

  • 33 Calories
  • 6.09 g Carbohydrates
  • 3.31 g Protein
  • 0.41 g Total Fat
  • 2.3 g Dietary Fiber
  • 38 μg Folates
  • 4.956 mg Niacin
  • 29 IU mg Vitamin-D
  • 18 mg Sodium
  • 420 mg Potassium
  • 3 mg Calcium
  • 2.6 μg Selenium

Health Benefits of Oyster Mushrooms 

So, now that we know that the oyster mushrooms not only awaken your taste buds but also provide you with some unmatched health benefits. Although the links between oyster mushrooms and these health benefits still lack an abundance of experimental trials and testing, the research done so far looks really promising. It has been proven to have beneficial effects on curbing high cholesterol, diabetes, weak immunity system, etc. Let’s dive in and know these benefits in detail. 

Antibacterial and Antioxidant Effects 

In addition to several other health benefits, oyster mushrooms have remarkable antibacterial properties. One of the active compounds in oyster mushrooms is benzaldehyde. This compound has proven to be effective in lowering bacterial levels.  

Moreover, oyster mushrooms contain Ergothioneine and phenolic compound. These components have demonstrated to cast an antioxidant effect along with scavenging ability. Thus, Ergothioneine becomes the protective agent that benefits the immune system.  

Manages Diabetes 

Oyster mushrooms have rich reservoirs of beta-glucans that act directly on the insulin resistance in our bodies. Beta-glucans help in decreasing glucose levels in the blood by acting as a hypoglycemic. Moreover, oyster mushrooms help enhance insulin and glycogen concentrations in our bodies. These beta-glucans also aid in the recovery of the dead or injured beta cells – increasing healthy body weight and managing type 2 diabetes. 

Improves Your Stomach Health 

Incorporating oyster mushrooms in your diet is extremely beneficial for colonic inflammation. It is also known to increase good bacteria in your body to strengthen your stomach and protect it from fecal microbiota alteration. The anti-inflammatory properties of oyster mushrooms also help enhance the immune response against inflammatory diseases. 

Effective In Inhibiting Cancer Growth 

The researches carried out so far in relation to testing the effects of mushroom consumption on preventing cancer have been quite promising. Oyster mushrooms are claimed to have polysaccharide in them which are responsible for initiating cellular and humoral immunity, which in turn inhibit the growth of renal cancer and human hepatoblastoma. 

Read more about the anticancer effects of polysaccharide here.

Moreover, the triterpenes found in the oyster mushrooms have demonstrated activity inhibiting breast cancer cells.  

Relieves Constipation 

Oyster mushrooms are a rich source of dietary fiber. These fibers are very useful in curing constipation – a consequence of indigestion and lower levels of fibers. Mushrooms provide around 14% of the daily requirement of fiber. Induction of fiber in the body helps make the intestinal functions work smoothly, which is why fibers are important in relieving complains related to constipation.   

Keeps Tabs On The Cholesterol Levels 

Oyster mushrooms have an abundance of dietary fiber that is quite useful in decreasing the accumulation of triglyceride in the liver. Also, lovastatin and mevinolin, two important components in oyster mushrooms, have a positive effect on the synthesis of cholesterol in the body by acting as a hypocholesterolemic agent. Consuming oyster mushrooms lowers the low-density lipoprotein and increases the good cholesterol. 

Oyster mushrooms are an ideal food item in the diet plan of the people suffering from high levels of cholesterol or the ones following a diet plan. These mushrooms impact on the process of fat absorption from the small intestine to decrease the pancreatic enzyme further helping the body in losing weight and bringing the cholesterol levels down. 

Improves Immunity 

Beta-glucan is an essential component in the oyster mushrooms. It acts as a catalyst on the speed of the killer cell; thus, enhancing immunity

Quick Tips 

  • Be careful while choosing the oyster mushrooms. Ensure that they do not appear frail and limp when you buy them. 
  • For increasing the life of oyster mushrooms, store them in the refrigerator in a sealed container. 
  • You can also freeze oyster mushrooms. However, it is advisable that you boil them quickly for, say 3 minutes, and rinse them with cold water before freezing them. 
  • Cleaning these mushrooms is not a big task as they grow on wood and do not have much dirt on them. You can pat them dry and clean them with a damp cloth. 
  • These mushrooms have a high water content in them, so they are better off cleaning with a damp cloth or a paper towel. Washing them with water might make them soggier. 
  • Sautéing oyster mushrooms enhance its intense flavor. Nevertheless, you have to be careful while sautéing them as they might turn soggy if you leave them in for a long time. 

Side Effects of Oyster Mushrooms 

There is not much research done regarding the side effects of oyster mushrooms. However, some people might develop allergic reactions to oyster mushrooms. Moreover, if not consumed in moderation, oyster mushrooms may result in an upset stomach.  

Final Thoughts 

Oyster mushrooms are the best option to adopt a healthy lifestyle with meals that are low in calories and also provide the essential nutrients needed by our bodies. They are a great source of fiber and important vitamins. You can add them to your soups or make your entrée special by adding sautéed mushrooms.