The many benefits of oyster mushrooms.
Oyster mushrooms are a type of fungus that grows in the wild on trees and other woody material. They're known for their distinctive texture, which is like a combination between meat and tofu. They were first cultivated in Germany during World War I, but are now cultivated all around the world for food. One of the reasons for that is that they do really well in less than ideal conditions, and they will pretty much grow on anything from straw, to wood, to newspaper. They don't get as much fanfare as other functional mushroom strains, but don't write this mushroom off just yet. Oyster mushrooms are rich in vitamins and minerals, including essential amino acids and antioxidants that help reduce inflammation throughout the body. According to mycologist Paul Stamets, the Oyster Mushroom is “The Workhorse of Gourmet Fungi”. We're still in the early stages and there's a lot more research to do, but here's what science has discovered about the health benefits of consuming these delicious fungi:
Oyster mushrooms contain antioxidants!
Oyster mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, which help prevent free radical damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause cell damage and lead to various health problems including heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's disease. In particular, oyster mushrooms contain an antioxidant compound called ergothioneine, which helps protect cells against oxidative stressors by decreasing free radical damage to DNA. This can be especially important as we age because our bodies produce less of this antioxidant naturally as we get older. Oyster mushrooms are also believed to be effective against cancerous tumors because they contain various minerals that boost the immune system's anti-cancer properties. In a recent study on pink oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus Djamor), the authors found that the oyster mushroom extract showed antimicrobial and antioxidant effects, as well as protection of DNA from UV induced damage and toxicity towards human breast cancer cells. In another study published in the Journal of Medicinal Plants December 2009, researchers studied the different antioxidant and anticancer activities depending on the color of oyster mushrooms. In this paper, they identified that methanol extracts from the yellow oyster mushroom strain showed the highest radical scavenging activity, reducing power, and chelating ability. On the other hand, dark-grey (blue) and pink oyster strains were more effective in inhibiting the growth of human colon cancer cell HT-29 than the yellow strain.
Oyster mushrooms reduce cholesterol!
Oyster mushrooms contain Beta-glucan, which is a type of soluble dietary fiber that is present in the cell walls of some grains, yeasts, bacteria, fungi, and algae. When beta-glucan enters the small intestine it can bind cholesterol-containing bile acids, preventing bile-acid reabsorption in the small intestine. It then passes into the large intestine where it is excreted from the body. Bile acids are important in aiding absorption of nutrients in the small intestine. As the body must then produce new bile acids in the liver using cholesterol, this results in reduced levels of cholesterol in the blood.
Oyster mushrooms are rich in vitamins D, B, and C, potassium, and other nutrients.
Oyster mushrooms are rich in vitamins D, B and C.
Vitamin D helps to prevent bone loss by increasing the absorption of calcium and phosphorous from food. It also helps maintain normal blood levels of calcium, which is essential for maintaining strong bones. Vitamin B1 (thiamine) is important for a healthy nervous system and plays an important role in energy metabolism in the body. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) aids in cell growth, red blood cell production and maintenance of good vision while vitamin C helps strengthen your immune system by increasing resistance against infections.
They also contain high amounts of potassium which helps maintain blood pressure levels within normal range while reducing the risk of stroke by preventing the formation of blood clots in the arteries or veins around your heart. Oysters also contain small amounts of zinc which plays an important role in maintaining your immune system. A one-cup serving (86 grams) contains approximately 27% of the Daily Value (DV) of Niacin (Vitamin B3); 22% of the DV of Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5); 9% of the DV of Thiamin (Vitamin B1); 6% of the DV of Vitamin B6; 8% of the DV of Folate (Vitamin B9); 3% of the DV of Vitamin D; 8% of the DV of Potassium; 8% of the DV of Phosphorus; 23% of the DV of Copper; 6% of the DV of Iron; 8% of the DV of Choline; and 6% of the DV of Zinc. This is a great place to see the entire nutritional content list.
Oyster mushrooms are high in protein.
You may have heard that protein is essential for growth and repair of body tissues, as well as the production of hormones, enzymes and antibodies. In addition to these roles, protein also helps maintain a healthy immune system.
Oyster mushrooms are high in protein compared to other types of mushrooms. A one-cup serving (86 grams) contains approximately 3 grams of protein, 5 grams of digestible or available carbohydrates; less than 1 gram of fat; 2 grams of fiber; and 28 calories.
Oyster mushrooms promote healthy digestion.
Oyster mushrooms are rich in fiber, which helps to promote healthy digestion. They contain prebiotics that can aid in weight loss and support the growth of good bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics can also help to reduce inflammation, boost immunity and fight off infections like the flu. Oyster mushrooms have been shown to improve constipation, diarrhea and other digestive issues because they're packed with soluble fiber--a type of carb that's easily digested by the body.
Other uses for this fantastic fungi!
Oyster mushrooms are continuing to be researched as a means of a biodynamic remedy to waste. Mycologist Paul Stamets found that mycelium of certain species, including the oyster mushroom, produce enzymes that break down the tough, aromatic hydrocarbons found in petroleum, in addition to soaking up heavy metals like mercury. And this is just the beginning; most experts will agree that we've barely scratched the surface of the true potential of fungi!
Oyster mushrooms are a great source of nutrients, and they're also versatile enough to be used in many dishes. You can add them to your salads or get creative and use them as a meat alternative. Either way, it's worth it to make this mushroom a regular part of your diet as the health benefits are huge, and not to mention they taste delicious! Using one of our grow kits (or even better getting a subscription!) will help make sure you always have fresh, tasty, and nutritious, oyster mushrooms available for you throughout the year.