Mushrooms are a superfood, available in several varieties that have been used extensively in cuisines across the globe. It is neither a vegetable nor a fruit but a fungus, an incredible source of good quality protein to any vegetarian diet. Cultivation of mushrooms has gained momentum in India in recent times and a lot of edible varieties have been grown including button, oyster, porcini, and chanterelles.
Oyster mushrooms, scientifically termed ad Pleurotus ostreatus is one of the common edible gilled mushrooms. There are about 40 types of oyster mushrooms, and all are edible, including king oyster mushrooms, pearl oyster, pink oyster, phoenix oyster, golden oyster, blue oyster etc. Oyster mushrooms are grown in temperate and subtropical regions, that derives its name from their caps, which resemble an oyster. They are chock full of nutrients, proteins, minerals, and powerful plant compounds that confer impressive health benefiting properties. They have also been used in traditional medicine, mainly the Chinese system of medicine for treating several maladies for ages. Oyster mushrooms have a mild, delicate taste and are used to uplift flavour a spectrum of culinary delights such as pasta, stir-fries, soups, salads, and many more.
Oyster mushrooms are bestowed with a wealth of nutrients including dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, and other vital phytonutrients. Being low in carbs and high on protein they are a perfect choice for people on a low carb diet regimen. It is a great source of several vitamins, including biotin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid and contains fair amounts of folate, vitamin B6 and B1. Besides these, it also comprises a smaller amount of selenium, zinc iron and phosphorus that may help to boost immunity and enhance overall health.
Potential Health Benefits
Loaded With Antioxidants
Oyster mushrooms are a storehouse of antioxidants that may help to decrease cellular damage in the body. There are about seven vital phenolic compounds present in oyster mushrooms including gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, and naringenin, these compounds function as a potent antioxidant fighting oxidative stress in the body. It also contains amino acid ergothioneine, which is attributed to have powerful antioxidant effects that lowers inflammatory markers and risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Potent Anti-cancer Actions
Oyster mushroom is attributed to have antitumour and anti-metastatic actions towards tumour cells. The presence of bioactive compound beta-glucan in oyster mushroom help to avert the enlargement and formation of cancer cells in the system. It works by hindering the cell cycle of tumour cells at an initial stage and prevents the spread of cancer cells to other vital organs.
Augments Cardiac Health
The richness of dietary fibre beta-glucans and beneficial plant compounds in oyster mushrooms may support heart health by regulating lipid profile and blood pressure. Beta-glucans are fermented by gut bacteria that secrete short-chain fatty acids, which help in decreasing cholesterol production in the body and aid in better cholesterol metabolism.
Oyster mushrooms are best known to lower blood sugar spikes in type 2 diabetic patients. Studies reveal that consuming oyster mushrooms powder lowered postprandial blood sugar levels by inactivating the enzymes that increase blood sugar levels. While ample amounts of beta-glucans help to slow down carbohydrate digestion and assimilation in the intestines and also give the system time to metabolise glucose efficiently.
Bolsters Immune System
Being intrinsically rich in beta-glucan fibre oyster mushrooms is credited to have immune-modulating actions that support to boast antiviral and antibacterial effects in the body. Oyster mushrooms supplements packed with the treasure of nutrients reduced the duration and severity of respiratory tract infections remarkably. Thus, the regular addition of this superfood may help to trigger an immune response and keep infections at bay.
Ways To Add Oyster Mushroom Into Your Diet
Oyster mushrooms are greatly valued for their culinary purposes and all parts are edible including the caps, gills and stems.
Here are a few easy ways to incorporate oyster mushrooms into meal plan:
- Add them to make nutritious soups and stews
- Blend with pasta and other rice recipes
- Stir fry them with veggies and garlic to make a wholesome side dish
- Add them to make rich curries and sauces
- Roast and grill them with vegetables in the oven
Generally, people allergic to mushrooms may experience side effects such as skin rashes, chills, fever, pain and itching or swelling of the mouth and throat. Oyster mushrooms have a shelf life of 7-8 days and after this period it becomes inedible.
Also, remember to buy it from supermarkets and do not get it from the wild. As wild ones may cause food poisoning symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhoea, dizziness, headache, and in rare cases loss of consciousness. Further, it should be consumed in moderate amounts, as excessive intake of oyster mushrooms may cause tummy upset, nausea, gas accumulation in the intestines, as some carbs are hard to digest.
The recommended daily intake of oyster mushrooms in one cup.
Oyster mushrooms are edible fungi packed with a plethora of nutrients that are known to deliver umpteen health benefits. Thanks to the wealth of nutrients including fibre, protein vitamin B, and antioxidants that uplift heart health, regulate blood glucose, and bolster immunity. Incorporate this superfood in recommended value, one cup daily to avert side effects and enhance overall health.