Grey Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus)
Oyster mushrooms are plentiful in the wild, growing on dead standing trees or fallen logs and It was first cultivated in Germany as a subsistence measure during World War I and is now grown commercially around the world for food.
In more recent years commercial production has skyrocketed.
Total commercial oyster mushroom cultivation worldwide increased over 18-fold between 1965 – 1997 (from 350,000 metric tons in 1965 to 6,160,800 metric tons in 1997; )
So why the huge jump in popularity?
The answer: fast production methods + an increased interest in the health and culinary benefits of Oyster mushrooms.
Oyster mushrooms are possibly the easiest variety of mushroom to grow.
They are super quick, relatively resistant to competitor organisms and they can grow on a wide range of substrate materials.
THE NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF OYSTER MUSHROOMS AND BENEFITS
Most of the incredible oyster mushroom health benefits come from its awesome nutritional profile.
Mushrooms, in general, are excellent for overall health and weight loss because they’re low in calories and fat with absolutely no cholesterol.
Oyster mushrooms are no different, boasting just 28 calories per one-cup serving with 1g fat, 2g dietary fiber, and 3g protein.
Beyond the basics, oyster mushrooms also have decent nutritional value thanks to their wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Niacin: Almost every cell in the human body requires niacin to function and metabolize other nutrients.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D is not easy to find in food products (it typically comes from sunlight). However, mushrooms treated with UV lights are one of the best food sources of vitamin D.
- Iron: Red blood cells require iron. One cup of oyster mushrooms gives you 12% of your recommended iron intake which makes them a great meat substitute in that respect.
Oyster mushrooms also contain 8% each of your daily recommended amount of important nutrients like
- Vitamin B6
- B Vitamins
- Folic acid (folate)
- Vitamin C
- Pantothenic acid
- Amino acids
8 HEALTH BENEFITS OF OYSTER MUSHROOMS
Traditional Chinese medicine has understood the value of oyster mushrooms and other medicinal mushrooms for centuries.
Here are some of the most well-researched oyster mushroom benefits.
1. IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPORT
The beta-glucans in oyster mushrooms make them one of the best foods on the planet for protecting your immune system against short- and long-term illnesses.
Unlike some foods that either stimulate or repress the immune system, mushrooms balance it.
Plus, oyster mushrooms are loaded with other antioxidants to help prevent free radical damage and oxidative stress so your immune system can defend itself against aging.
2. LOWERING HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Your body needs nutrients like vitamin D to regulate blood pressure levels.
Did you know that most people who live in cold climates are deficient in vitamin D?
One study found that dietary mushrooms like oysters reduced blood pressure in rats with spontaneous or unexplained high blood pressure. (1)
3. REGULATING CHOLESTEROL LEVELS
Since mushrooms like oysters have a savory flavor and no cholesterol, they’re a great substitute for meat in many sautéed dishes.
One study also found that consuming oyster mushrooms reduced triglycerides and cholesterol levels in diabetic patients (as well as high blood sugar levels). (2)
4. BUILDING STRONG BONES
Oyster mushrooms have plenty of important nutrients for building strong bones. Specifically, vitamin D and magnesium.
While most people focus on calcium, your body also needs vitamin D and magnesium to process calcium and store it in your bones.
5. ANTI-INFLAMMATORY PROPERTIES
The beta-glucans and antioxidants in oyster mushrooms make it a great food for lowering inflammation.
According to the research, ergothioneine lowers “systemic” inflammation across the entire body which often contributes to diseases like dementia and diabetes.
6. ANTI-CANCER PROPERTIES
The beta-glucans in mushrooms like oysters function as potent antioxidants that may protect the body against cancer.
One study found that oyster mushrooms have potential to be effective for certain types of cancer cells. (3)
7. PROTECTING THE HEART AGAINST CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
Ergothioneine is also an excellent amino acid for protecting the heart because it prevents the buildup of plaque. Perhaps this is also why oyster mushrooms are able to lower cholesterol levels.
8. DEFEND AGAINST NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES
Finally, the amino acid ergothioneine is a cytoprotectant. In other words, it protects cells against oxidative stress and free radical damage.
That’s why mushrooms like oysters have potential for defending against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia.