The highly cultivated oyster mushrooms are an example of fungi that don’t have to have a poisonous label. In fact, they’ve been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It’s the most cultivated mushroom worldwide!
Keep reading to learn about the benefits of oyster mushrooms that your body will thank you for.
Nutrition Facts of Oyster Mushrooms
These are the nutritional and vitamin content in 100 grams of oyster mushrooms:
- Calories: 33
- Protein: 3.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 6.43 g
- Dietary fiber: 2.4 g
- Beta-glucans: 3.01 g
- Magnesium: 18 mg
- Sodium: 18 mg
- Calcium: 3 mg
- Iron: 1.33 mg
- Copper: 0.2 mg
- Riboflavin (B2): 0.3 mg
- Niacin (B3): 5 mg
- Folate (B9): 38 µg
- Vitamin D: 0.7 µg
Oyster Mushroom Benefits
Here are the health benefits of oyster mushrooms that the abovementioned nutrients and vitamins will do for your body:
Promotes Heart Health
These mushrooms are high in fiber and low in calories, so they’re perfect for keeping your heart healthy. These gilled mushrooms strengthen blood vessel walls and improve the vessels’ function.
In addition, the mushrooms’ vitamin D lowers blood pressure and reduces risks of heart disease, hypertension, and stroke.
If your doctor advises you to lower your cholesterol, then embrace this health benefit of oyster mushrooms. They have no cholesterol but have fibers called beta-glucans that produce short-chain fatty acids that keep your cholesterol in check.
Besides lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, these fantastic mushrooms raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol thanks to their niacin (vitamin B3).
Another oyster mushroom benefit is the high levels of iron, which is an essential mineral for red blood cell production. Researchers find that this may be a good food source to treat and prevent anemia.
Of course, iron isn’t the only nutrient that benefits red blood cells. The mineral copper is in oyster mushrooms, too, and it helps red blood cells access the iron in order to replicate.
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
For people with diabetes, the health benefits of oyster mushrooms should serve them well. These incredible mushrooms are found to manage blood sugar levels. A rat study even showed that they improve insulin sensitivity and inhibit certain blood sugar-increasing proteins.
Another study showed that patients who ate powdered oyster mushrooms for two weeks had their levels lowered after a meal. The mushrooms’ beta-glucans slow the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, preventing blood sugar levels from spiking after eating meals.
People with type 2 diabetes are encouraged to eat about 20–30 grams of oyster mushrooms daily or every other day.
Improves Digestion and Gut Health
Fiber is clearly an oyster mushroom benefit considering what the beta-glucans do for your heart and cholesterol.
The mushrooms’ fiber helps you maintain a healthy weight as it makes you full faster. It also adds bulk to your stool so it passes through the digestive tract easily. Other fibers like prebiotics aid in the growth of and feed healthy bacteria in the gut.
Supports the Immune System
Eating oyster mushrooms increases your body’s production of white blood cells and antibodies. They also have antibacterial and antiviral properties that fight off respiratory-tract diseases and infections and inhibit viral cell replication.
One compound the oyster mushroom has is laccase. Many types of fungi produce it, and researchers have found that it breaks down the cell walls of bacteria. For example, in a study, laccase was shown to break down E. coli and salmonella bacteria.
Great Source of Antioxidants
One of the best oyster mushroom benefits for your immune system is that the mushrooms are high in antioxidants. In fact, this type of mushroom contains more antioxidants than other cultivated mushrooms.
They’ll protect cells from damage and disease-causing free radicals and fight off oxidative stress. By eating these antioxidant-rich fungi, you’ll be lowering chronic disease risks and suppressing cancer growth by about 45%.
Oyster mushrooms contain plenty of vitamin D, and eating the mushrooms increases your body’s vitamin D levels by up to 11%.
This oyster mushroom benefit is ideal for warding off osteoporosis and osteoclastogenesis (forming cells that dissolve bone tissue) risks. That’s because the mushrooms’ vitamin D and magnesium process and store calcium and phosphorus in the bones, strengthening them.
Enhances Brain Function
Niacin in oyster mushrooms may lower cholesterol, but this vitamin also protects against memory and learning problems. The amino acid ergothioneine (found mostly in mushrooms) also contributes to better cognitive health.
The mushrooms’ riboflavin, or vitamin B2, was found to protect the brain from the motor neuron disorder Brown’s syndrome. This health benefit of oyster mushrooms is great for preventing Alzheimer’s and other cognitive impairments.
Contains Anti-Inflammatory Properties
This oyster mushroom benefit is ideal for people with inflaming conditions like arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. Oyster mushrooms have anti-inflammatory properties, including the brain-enhancing amino acid and antioxidant ergothioneine.
These properties and B and D vitamins also improve kidney function and protect against kidney damage. And they lower the risk of gum disease, so it’s not only your teeth that receive oyster mushroom benefits.
Adverse Effects of Oyster Mushrooms
Like all food that’s good for you, it stops being good if it’s all you eat or eat in mass quantities. A serving size of 100 grams of oyster mushrooms has about 18 mg of sodium. Overconsuming them could reverse the oyster mushroom benefit of lowering blood pressure.
Oyster mushrooms have a small amount of a sugar alcohol called arabitol that causes gastrointestinal problems in some people. Even if you don’t have a sugar alcohol sensitivity, this is grounds enough for avoiding an excessive intake of these mushrooms.
Like all mushrooms, oyster mushrooms have compounds called purines that you shouldn’t overeat. They break down into uric acid, and too much of it aggravates gout symptoms like pain, swelling, and joint redness.
A safe intake of oyster mushrooms is no more than a cup per day.
Unfortunately, people won’t experience oyster mushroom benefits if said mushroom is their allergen. If someone who’s allergic ingests this mushroom, symptoms like hives, skin rashes, joint pain, chills, and a fever may occur.
You could be allergic to oyster mushrooms if you have mold allergies. Consult your doctor if you’re uncertain whether or not these mushrooms are safe for you to eat.
Adding Oyster Mushrooms to Your Diet
Now that you know about oyster mushroom benefits, let’s go over how you can prepare them for eating. If you purchase them (mostly cultivated in greenhouses), get them as dry, firm clusters with an even color.
Before eating oyster mushrooms, get a damp paper towel and wipe any dirt or debris off them. Rinsing is another option, but make sure you dry the mushrooms completely before you prepare them for eating.
You may eat them raw or cooked, but cooking them is preferable, as they’re very spongy, chewy, and metallic-tasting otherwise. When you prepare them, take note that there are specific cooking methods that will minimize oyster mushroom benefits.
Boiling or frying (yes, even sautéing!) the mushrooms decrease the vitamin, protein, and antioxidant content while increasing the fat content. The best way to cook them without affecting the health benefits is by microwaving and grilling, as they increase antioxidant activity.
However, you want to prepare your mushrooms is ultimately up to you. The taste may influence how you do it, but luckily you know a couple of ways to retain their health benefits!
For pizza night, top your slices with these earthy mushrooms! You could also add them to your eggs, whether they’re scrambled or made into omelets to make an oyster mushroom omelet. Or add them to your salads, sandwiches, stir-fries, and soups.
Sautéed oyster mushrooms with olive oil, herbs, or butter and cream make great side dishes. And if you stir-fry the mushrooms, add some tofu, minced garlic, and ginger to the recipe.
Whatever meat is your entrée, a side of oyster mushrooms will go well with your dish. They’re also good meat substitutes for a meat-free diet since they have a similar texture and flavor.
Benefit from Oyster Mushrooms!
Oyster mushrooms are proof that not all fungi are harmful. From centuries ago to today, they’ve sustained and treated us well.
Try them out with your next meal and reap the oyster mushroom benefits!
Visit our mushrooms page to learn more about these umbrella-like fungi and other ways you could benefit from them.