We know, it’s tempting to stick to your regular ol’ mushrooms — the ones with a flavor you trust and no threat of poisoning. However, if you’ve yet to expand your shroom horizons, the oyster mushroom has some benefits worth exploring.
Let’s look a little deeper into what makes these oysters such pearls.
Oyster mushrooms can be found growing all over the world. As they love to grow on tree trunks, you’ll find them in most forests, especially in temperate areas (they particularly love the United Kingdom, where they’ll happily grow all year round).
They’re particularly beloved in Japan, Korea and China, where their mild flavor (which has a hint of anise) is considered a delicacy. And not only do they complement a dish, but the diner, too: they’ve been used as a medicine for centuries. They also have a great deal of fiber — great for your gut and overall health!
And if you were wondering what’s on the inside, a cup (86 grams) of raw oyster mushrooms contains:
- Energy: 28 kcal
- Protein: 3 grams (g)
- Carbs: 5 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Fat: less than a gram
- Calcium: 3 milligrams (mg)
- Magnesium: 16 mg
- Potassium: 361 mg
- Cholesterol: absolutely zero
So, a ton of good stuff, and hardly any fat. Oh, oyster mushrooms; where have you been all our lives?
So we’ve established that oyster mushrooms may look good. But in order to be your new BFF, you need to know exactly how they help you health-wise.
Luckily, these ‘shrooms come with the goods, potentially helping us out on a variety of health matters.
1. They’re loaded with antioxidants
These should already be on your friend list, because antioxidants are The Good Stuff. They help to prevent cell damage — and as your body is made up of cells, that’s pretty good thing. Studies are ongoing, but it may turn out that antioxidants help to prevent things like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
And wouldn’t you know it: our friend the oyster mushroom is full of them! We can’t say for certain yet if antioxidants do as much as we hope, but scientists are pretty excited about what the humble ‘shroom could do for us.
2. They’re kind to your heart
Again, more studies are needed, but it’s looking good that oyster mushrooms may help your ticker to keep ticking. One of the ingredients within our oyster friends (beta-glucan, which is also found in oats) is linked to improving glucose and fat metabolism, as well as blood pressure and body weight — all of which give your heart a helping hand! And don’t forget that nifty fiber content, too.
3. They may lower blood sugar levels
There’s also evidence that oyster mushrooms may help fight insulin resistance. Insulin is the stuff which keeps the glucose levels in your blood in a healthy range, so your body developing a resistance to it’s no bueno. Eating more oyster mushrooms *may* help to stave off diabetes, though boffins are still testing out the theory.
4. They carry antiviral and antibacterial properties
It’s fair to say that in the…