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oyster mushrooms

The mighty oyster mushroom is highly nutritious and has many health-promoting properties due to the variety of powerful plant compounds that it contains but is low in FODMAPs. Research indicates that oyster mushrooms may have anti-tumour, anti-inflammatory and heart healthy properties (1).

 

They are great to add to stir fries, stews and pasta dishes. We use them in our Potato topped chicken pie and our new Smoked mushroom carbonara if you don’t fancy cooking from scratch.

Interesting facts

 

  • Oyster mushrooms, or Pleurotus ostreatus, are oyster-shaped and have a gill structure.

  • There are around 40 types of oyster mushrooms and all of them are edible and are commonly enjoyed in cooking across the world.

  • Mushrooms have been consumed for centuries and used for in traditional medicine. In Chinese culture mushrooms are treasured as a health food, an "elixir of life", the ancient Greeks throught that mushrooms gave strength to warriors fighting in battles, and the Romans referred to them as the "Food of the Gods" (2).

Rich in

 

  • Niacin
  • Vitamin B5
  • Folate
  • Potassium
  • Phenolic compounds
  • Beta-glucans

Key health benefits

 

  • Can help reduce cellular damage. Oyster mushrooms are rich in antioxidants which fight free radicals (harmful compounds linked with illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease) in your body. Oyster mushrooms contain numerous antioxidant phenolic compounds such as gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, and naringenin (3).

  • May benefit heart health. Some research suggests that eating oyster mushrooms may help reduce high blood pressure and ‘bad’ cholesterol which are risk factors for heart disease (4). Oyster mushrooms contain a soluble fibre called β-glucans or beta-glucans (also found in oats) and these have been linked to reduced cholesterol production. Oyster mushrooms contain almost twice as many β-glucans as white buttons (5). Oyster mushrooms may also possess some blood pressure lowering activity as they contain several bioactive peptides known to inhibit the angiotensin converting enzyme (which helps to relax the veins and arteries and lowers blood pressure) (5).
  • May help blood glucose regulation. Some studies have found that eating oyster mushrooms helped to reduce fasting blood glucose and post meal blood glucose readings. This may be due to oyster mushrooms being a rich source of beta-glucans (a fibre that can slow down carbohydrate digestion and glucose absorption from the gut) (5). A 2020 review suggested that these potential blood sugar-lowering effects may be attributed to the mushroom’s high concentration of beta-glucans, as this type of fibre slows down carbohydrate digestion and absorption (5).
  • Supports immune health. These mushrooms have been shown to have antiviral and antibacterial effects due to a compound called pleuran — a type of beta-glucan fibre (6). However, more studies are needed using fresh oyster mushrooms rather than in the form of supplements.

  • Good for gut health. Oyster mushrooms contains beneficial fibres which are fermented by gut bacteria to produce short chain fatty acids in the guts of rats (7). Short chain fatty acids are thought to play many roles in our body from improving gut barrier integrity, glucose, and lipid metabolism, regulating the immune system, the inflammatory response, blood pressure and supporting brain function (8,9).

Sasha Watkins

Registered dietitian and co-founder of Field Doctor

IG: @sashadietitian

Key Nutrients: