Oyster mushrooms are one of the most popular varieties of cultivated mushrooms in the world. They are grown commercially in many countries and are considered a delicacy.
There are around 40 different types of oyster mushrooms, but the one that is most common is Pleurotus ostreatus, it’s also known as the American oyster mushroom. All sub-species of oyster mushrooms are edible and are frequently enjoyed in dishes like pasta or stew.
Not only that they were used as a tasty ingredient for many dishes, but also traditional medicine utilized these mushrooms for their impressive health-promoting properties.
Oyster mushrooms are abundant in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other vital nutrients. They are low in carbohydrates, therefore they’re a good option for diabetics or people who are on low-carb diets. Let’s check out the nutritional facts about oyster mushrooms, 1 cup or 86 grams contain:
- Calories: 28
- Carbs: 5.2 grams
- Protein: 2.9 grams
- Fat: 0.3 gram
- Fiber: 2 gram
Micronutrients % Daily Value
- Niacin: 27%
- Pantothenic acid 22%
- Folate: 8%
- Choline: 8%
- Potassium: 8%
- Iron: 6%
- Phosphorus: 8%
- Zinc: 6%
Lesser concentrations of other minerals, such as vitamin D and selenium, are also present in these mushrooms.
Traditional Use of Oyster Mushroom
The rich traditional history of oyster mushrooms is stretching back at least 3000 years in Asian cultures. Even back then, it was used as a culinary delight and as a medicinal fungus. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, oyster mushrooms were prescribed for muscle and joint relaxation, to improve kidney function, and strengthen veins.
The legend of mycology Paul Stamets stated that oyster mushrooms are “The workhorse of gourmet fungi.” This is because it has been discovered that these mushrooms, in addition to being incredibly beneficial for our health, also possess a truly unique ability to degrade environmental toxins, such as hydro-carbon-based contaminants.
Oyster Mushrooms Promotes Hearth Health
Research suggests that oyster mushrooms may improve cardiovascular health by regulating levels of cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. P. ostreatus has a very high concentration of beta-glucans, which is a type of fiber that promotes heart health. Short-chain fatty acids are created when gut bacteria ferment beta-glucans, they can help reduce cholesterol production in your body. Interestingly, compared to white button mushrooms, oyster mushrooms offer twice the amount of beta-glucans.
In 2011, a small randomized control trial was conducted. Researchers found out that eating a soup containing only 30 grams of dried P. ostreatus over the period of 21 significantly decreased triglycerides and oxidized cholesterol (LDL) compared with a placebo treatment.
A more recent review of clinical trials from 2020 indicates that beta-glucans found in oyster mushrooms may improve lipid and glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and body weight.
Improvement In Immune Function
Your immune system may benefit from oyster mushrooms in various ways.
For instance, research has shown that oyster mushrooms contain certain compounds that have immunomodulatory properties, such as pleuran, which is a type of beta-glucan fiber that has antiviral, antibacterial, and immune-improving characteristics.
A study published in 2016, found evidence that oyster mushroom extracts might have immune-enhancing effects. The research came to the conclusion that oyster mushroom extract may be useful for the prevention of a number of illnesses, such as cancer and various infections, due to its stimulation of the immune system.
Improvement In Metabolic Function
Health specialists frequently suggest eating a diet rich in fiber as a way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Mushrooms are rich in fiber, similar to vegetables. However, they may offer additional benefits besides fiber, that will help you maintain a better metabolic function.
A 2020 study, examined the effects of edible mushrooms on obese participants. Researchers came to the conclusion that consuming mushrooms regularly may be effective in treating metabolic syndrome, including obesity. Although, they advised that this practice should be combined with regular physical exercise, and lifestyle alternations.
Oyster Mushrooms May Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Oyster mushrooms not only support heart health but may also manage blood sugar levels.
In a 2022 systematic review, participants who were taking powdered oyster mushrooms had reduced post-meal blood sugar spikes. The researchers suggest that the mushrooms increased the use of sugar in the tissues while inhibiting certain blood sugar increasing proteins.
Similar to this, a 2007 research of 30 hospitalized type 2 diabetics discovered that consuming 150 grams of cooked oyster mushrooms every day for seven days straight, decreased post-meal blood sugar by 23% and fasting blood sugar by 22%. After participants had stopped consuming the mushrooms for 1 week, post-meal and fasting blood sugar rapidly increased from 13% to 20%. Implementing oyster mushrooms in the diet also reduced participants’ cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and blood pressure.
Rich Source Of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances that help reduce cellular damage in your body. Oyster mushrooms have a proper micronutrient structure, as they contain multiple different antioxidants including naringenin, ergothioneine, chlorogenic acid, and gallic acid.
A 2007 study in rats, found that supplementing with oyster mushroom extract significantly raised antioxidant levels in the body and lowered certain inflammatory markers.
Likewise, a 2020 rodent study also demonstrated the antioxidant capabilities of oyster mushroom extract by reducing the liver damage caused by harmful toxins.
Although animal studies suggest that oyster mushrooms may deliver antioxidants that can protect against cellular damage, more human studies are required in order to ensure their effectiveness.
Other Potential Benefits
In addition to the health benefits we already listed, research suggests that there are even more health benefits from the consumption of oyster mushrooms. However, these potential healing effects should be thoroughly researched before any claims are made.
- Potential cancer-fighting properties. Research done in test tubes and animals suggest that oyster mushrooms may provide an “anti-tumor” effect. However, research on humans is lacking.
- Anti-inflammatory effects. A study in rats found that supplementing with oyster mushroom extract significantly reduced paw inflammation. It is believed that these anti-inflammatory properties are due to the high concentration of different antioxidants in these mushrooms.
- Benefits for gut health. Yet another study on rats had promising results with oyster mushroom extracts. There was a significant decrease in the growth of pathogenic gut bacteria and an increase in the production of beneficial short-chained fatty acids.
The Bottom Line
Besides being a culinary delicacy, oyster mushrooms are linked to several health benefits.
They are highly nutritious and abundant with antioxidants which have anti-inflammatory effects. In addition to their nutritional value, they may promote heart health, boost the immune system and encourage healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Taking dietary pills and supplements sometimes just doesn’t feel natural. However, try adding these delicious mushrooms to your diet by using them in dishes like omelets, pasta, or stew. You will enjoy a tasty meal that will ultimately improve your overall health.