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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Health Food >>  Oyster Mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms have been around for centuries and have often been used for its medicinal and health benefits. These mushrooms became popular through Chinese medicine. There have been so many discoveries regarding the mushrooms’ medicinal properties that they have also been nicknamed ‘medicinal mushrooms’. These mushrooms have typically been more popular in Eastern and East Asian cuisines. Today, China is one of the largest producers and exporters of oyster mushrooms.

Health Benefits Of Oyster Mushrooms

Research has shown that extracts from different kinds of oyster mushrooms help in different ailments.

  • Cholesterol: Oyster mushrooms are also suitable additions to the diet of people with obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. This is primarily because these mushrooms are low in sodium and have a low starch ratio. These mushrooms also contain statins which are cholesterol lowering drugs. It is a good idea to include oyster mushrooms in diet for high cholesterol.
  • Cancer: Extract from the pink oyster has shown to stop the proliferation of cancerous cells. Extracts of king oyster mushroom has shown to stimulate the immune function. Use of mushroom in cancer treatment is an on-going research activity that has a lot of promise.
  • Hepatitis: Oyster mushrooms are also known to benefit people trying to quit tobacco products or even counter the Hepatitis C virus.
  • Other people who will benefit by including them in their daily diet are people suffering from anemia, hyperacidity, constipation and of course, to boost general immunity.

This, however, does not mean you should discontinue drugs just because you have added mushrooms to your diet. All advice on drug courses should come from a certified doctor. Get to know detailed information on button mushroom

Properties of Oyster Mushrooms

  • Oyster mushrooms health benefits include antioxidant and anti bacterial properties. Nutrients in these confirm the fact that mushrooms are chock-a-block full of the good stuff.
  • These mushrooms contain minerals like zinc, potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins like B1, B2, C, folic acid and niacin. Also see properties of Maitake mushroom
  • Eating oyster mushrooms regularly ensures that you get your daily quota of these nutrients, especially that of vitamins.
  • The iron content in these mushrooms is higher than the iron present in meat – a common source for your daily iron. The potassium in oyster mushrooms is high enough to act as a preventive for heart disease and hypertension. Mushrooms are known to absorb metals from the soil, and oyster mushrooms tend to absorb cadmium and mercury. This could present a health hazard and it would help to know where the mushrooms have originated, in order to prevent it.

Vitamin Content:

Mushrooms have antioxidant, anti bacterial and anti microbial properties. They are parasites that secrete compounds which allow them to survive in nature. This, in turn, helps us when we consume mushrooms. The antioxidant properties of the mushrooms are due to a compound called ‘ergothioneine’ which is not destroyed even when you cook the mushrooms. For example, a 3-ounce portion of mushrooms can contain up to 13 mg of ergothioneine.

Ergothioneine is known to protect cells and build immunity. The anti bacterial function in oyster mushrooms is because of the compound benzaldehyde. This compound reduces levels of bacteria in the body. Cooking these mushrooms provides a boost of riboflavin along with the earthy taste of mushrooms. Riboflavin is a form of B12 vitamin and these mushrooms ensure you receive your daily intake of this vitamin. These mushrooms also contain up to 13 per cent of pantothenic acid which is also a form of vitamin B5. Along with B12 and B5, oyster mushrooms also contain thiamin which is a form of vitamin B1. The quantity of vitamin B3 is also about five times higher as compared to other vegetables. Mushrooms in general are very nutrient rich so you can mix up different mushrooms and add them to your sandwiches, salads and soups. It need not only be oyster mushrooms. You can mix it up with button, crimini, chanterelle, porcini, shitake and many other kinds of mushrooms.
Mushrooms are also known to provide vitamin D which helps strengthen bones.

Nutritional Information:

The nutrition in oyster mushrooms is very high. The nutritional information for a 100 gram or 3.5 ounce serving of oyster mushrooms has only 33 calories and 0.4 grams of fat. These mushrooms also contain 6.4 grams of carbohydrate and 33 grams of protein per serving. The nutrients in mushrooms will vary if you serve it up in a lot of fat or with other accompaniments like bread or meat. The best way is a quick stir fry, sautéed or added to another bigger dish like a stew, roast or a salad.

Before Picking Oyster Mushrooms:

Sometimes you might directly pick the mushroom from the wild instead of buying it at the produce section. At such times, you might need some pointers to pick the correct mushroom from the wild to avoid picking a poisonous variety. Usually the mushrooms available in the supermarkets are correctly identified. This poses a problem because these are abundant mushrooms that grow rampant. It therefore becomes important to identify these fungi correctly if that is going to be your source for oyster mushrooms. This mushroom has daffodil-like tops and white stems. The mushroom could be in different colors. If you aren’t sure about the type of mushroom, do not eat them. As these grow quite readily, these mushrooms are not as expensive as some of the other rare mushrooms. If you are buying them in a store, do not buy bruised or wet mushrooms.

More Interesting Facts:

These mushrooms resemble oysters, and therefore, are named oyster mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms grow on fallen logs or at the base of dead trees or even on organic waste like sawdust and straw. These mushrooms can be found in different colors like grey, white, yellow, dark brown and occasionally, even pink. The color of the mushroom is usually a result of the growing conditions. The growing conditions also affect the taste. The stems are quite tender and the entire mushroom is edible. It retains its firm texture even after cooking. Tender mushrooms tend to be tastier while the bigger ones are chewier but are still sweet.

These mushrooms are often mixed with chanterelles while cooking. Another reason why they are called ‘oyster mushrooms’ is that they do not typically taste like mushrooms but more like shellfish. These mushrooms are also called elephant mushroom, oyster cap mushroom, tree mushroom and shimeji. The biological name of the oyster mushroom is ‘Pleurotus ostreatus’ and it is classified as a fungus, like other mushrooms.

Submitted on January 16, 2014