If there’s one type of mushrooms with a heavenly taste, then it has to be the oyster mushroom. Don’t get mistaken; these mushrooms don’t taste or feel like oysters, they only get the name because of their physical resemblance to the shellfish.
You would be interested to know that oyster mushrooms also known as shellfish mushrooms are all season. These can be found throughout the year in stores and even in the wild (on the trunks of dead trees).
For a fungal plant, the oyster mushroom has very many benefits; ranging from environmental, nutritional, and medicinal benefits.
Environmental benefits of oyster mushrooms
Of the many mushroom varieties available, oyster mushroom is the 3rd most abundant cultivated mushrooms in the world. China alone contributes about 85% of the total production of these mushrooms worldwide. And among its many benefits, scientists claim that oyster mushrooms can degrade environmental toxins, i.e., hydrocarbon-based contaminants.
Ongoing research also seems to indicate a possible ability of these mushrooms to combat hunger, improve immunity as well as reduce environmental pollution.
Nutritional benefits of oyster mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms as earlier indicated are quite tasty. When cooked, this delicacy has a subtle flavor, and you can use them in just about any dish that calls for mushrooms. And when looking for these mushrooms go for the mature ones as they are larger, chewier, and sweeter and have relatively more flavor.
That said, it is important to note that oyster mushrooms have its roots deep in Asia. This edible fungus apart from being just a delicacy has very many uses in this region. Owing to its vast nutritional benefits and organic appeal, the oyster mushroom has over the recent years found a way in the heart of many people in other parts of the world too.
Taking a gander at the various oysters health benefit, it is worth mentioning that this tasty delicacy also doubles up as a dietary powerhouse. The mushroom contains substantial amounts of iron, potassium, phosphorous, fiber, protein, vitamins amongst many other essentials nutrients and minerals.
For the most part, oyster mushrooms can make up for a very nutritious daily diet for individuals of any age. People with cardiovascular complication, those that are diabetes and the obese can derive great nutritional and health benefits from eating oyster mushrooms. This is thanks to the low sodium, potassium, fat, starch, and calorific value present in this mushroom.
Additionally, the alkaline ash and high fiber content in oyster mushroom make it a great meal accompaniment to include in your daily diet particularly if you suffer from frequent constipation and hyperacidity. What is more is that this mushroom can reduce cholesterol levels in the body as you will find out soon in this article.
But before that…
Can oyster mushrooms be eaten raw?
Well, as much as dieting has become quite popular where most vegetables are eaten raw, it wouldn’t be a great idea to add raw oyster mushrooms to your salads. Why? Because these mushrooms contain tough cell walls that must be cooked thoroughly to make them digestible.
Subjecting these mushroom to thorough heating also kills several harmful toxins and other compounds in the vegetable that are considered to be carcinogenic and thus harmful to the human body. Besides, cooked mushrooms are much tastier and healthier. Plus, cooking allows you more flexibility to play around with various recipes. So should you eat oyster mushrooms raw? No, you shouldn’t.
Medicinal benefits of oyster mushroom
For thousands of years, the oyster mushroom has been revered not just as a delicacy but also as a medicine, particularly in Asian and European cultures. This mushroom contains little amounts of fat but is quite rich in proteins, essential vitamins, amino acids, polysaccharides and other healthy nutrients.
The oyster mushroom is suitable for people with anemia. It has a niacin content that is considerably higher than what is found in most other vegetables as well as folic acid that helps to cure anemia.
Those with diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity are encouraged to incorporate oyster mushrooms in their diets. The low fat and calorie content plus the low sodium/potassium ratio in this mushroom helps to prevent cardiovascular diseases. Experts also claim that the mushroom can help prevent atherosclerosis (the hardening of the arteries).
Moreover, the mushrooms contain polysaccharides which are a form of complex carbohydrates and are said to have tumor inhibiting properties. Ongoing research also shows that oyster mushrooms can be helpful in preventing HIV.
Eating mushrooms on a regular basis can help to synchronize the absorption of food in the body while increasing its nutritional efficiency. Mushrooms not only very nutritious, but they are also great immune boosters.
Oyster mushrooms are no different. Their benefits as evidenced in this article are not limited to health and nutrition as they are also said to have an enormous impact on our environment.
The good thing is that you don’t even have to go searching for them in the wild or to buy in supermarkets, you can also grow them at home for your domestic use. Several articles online provide guidelines on how to grow oyster mushrooms at home.