Oyster Mushroom Health Benefits
Oyster mushrooms have been used for thousands of years as a culinary and medicinal ingredient. The white mushrooms resemble oysters, and can be found growing in the wild on dead trees or fallen logs. They have a rich history in traditional Chinese medicine from as early as 3,000 years ago, particularly as a tonic for the immune system, according to acupuncturist Christopher Hobbs, author of "Medicinal Mushrooms."
Oyster mushrooms contain ergothioneine, a unique antioxidant exclusively produced by fungi, according to a 2010 study led by Penn State food scientist Joy Dubost. The study found that oyster mushrooms have significant antioxidant properties that protect cells in the body. A 3 oz. serving of oyster mushrooms contains 13 milligrams of ergothioneine, and cooking the mushrooms does not reduce this level.
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Oyster mushrooms have significant antibacterial activity, according to a 1997 study published in the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry." The study found that the active compound benzaldehyde reduces bacterial levels. It may form on the mushroom as a reaction to stress.
There are 42 calories in one cup of oyster mushrooms, making them a low-calorie addition to any meal. Oyster mushrooms are also high in nutrients. According to a study published in "Food Chemistry," oyster mushrooms contain significant levels of zinc, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C, folic acid, niacin, and vitamins B-1 and B-2. The study concluded that consuming oyster mushrooms as part of a healthy diet contributes to recommended nutritional requirements.
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- Christopher Hobbs: Medicinal Mushrooms III
- "Medical News Today": Mushrooms are Top Source for One Antioxidant, Ergothioneine
- "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry": Volatile Compounds Secreted by the Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) and Their Antibacterial Activities
- "Food Chemistry": The nutrients of exotic mushrooms (Lentinula edodes and Pleurotus species) and an estimated approach to the volatile compounds
Based in Richmond, Va., Tara Carson has written articles for editorial and corporate online and print publications for more than 10 years. She has experience as an adjunct professor of nutrition at Northwest Christian University and holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism and nutrition from Virginia Commonwealth University.