Mushrooms are now widely used in many Indian dishes as it is a good vegetarian option. Oyster mushrooms are often disregarded by people due to their weird appearance. Although oyster mushrooms are technically a species of fungi, they are tasty to eat, easy to cook and have a number of health benefits. This should give you enough reasons to add them to your diet. Read on to know more about oyster mushrooms!
Oyster mushroom is commonly known by many names in India such as, “dhingri” in Hindi or “sippi kalan” in Tamil. It is an edible mushroom, which was first cultivated in Germany for sustenance during the World War I. Nowadays, it is grown commercially throughout Europe, Asia and North America.
Oyster mushrooms are scientifically known as Pleurotus ostreatus. They are widely found in temperate and sub-tropical forests, throughout the world. They usually grow on dying hardwood trees. Oyster mushrooms are popular in South Asian, Japanese and Central European cuisines, where they are battered and fried or added in soups and side dishes.
Around 3,000 years ago, oyster mushrooms had significant uses in ancient Chinese medicine, particularly as a tonic for the immune system, according to acupuncturist Christopher Hobbs, author of “Medicinal Mushrooms.” Oyster mushrooms are grown popularly in the state of Kerala, India. “Kalan milagu varuval” is a popular South Indian dish that is simple to cook and provides a delicious meaty flavour. “Kombhu barthad” or mushroom chilli fry is a famous dish of Coorg, Karnataka.
Did You Know?
– The Latin name Pleurotus ostreatus means “sideways oyster”, which refers to the oyster-like shape of the mushroom
– Oyster mushrooms have a unique scent that is often described as sweet, like anise or liquorice
– The mycelia (the threadlike structure in a fungus) kills and eats small roundworms and bacteria, which makes them one of the few carnivorous mushrooms
Oyster mushroom is rich in protein, which is extremely beneficial for people who follow a vegetarian diet. It is also a good source of niacin (vitamin B3) that has many important roles in our body. Other than these, oyster mushrooms contain a good amount of carbohydrates, sodium and potassium. They also contain iron, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin B6.
Mushrooms are a favourite among many, thanks to their earthy flavour and ease of cooking. They can be eaten in a variety of ways. Mushroom soup with tomatoes and basil is excellent for driving away cough and cold. Did you know that oyster mushroom is one of the main dishes in a traditional English breakfast menu? Nowadays, popular restaurants have also come up with dishes such as “mushroom kebabs” – sounds interesting, right!
Health benefits of Oyster Mushroom
Some of the health benefits of oyster mushroom are as follows:
Oyster mushroom contains antioxidants that help in preventing the growth of cancerous cells. A study carried out by the Methodist Research Institute’s Cancer Research Laboratory found that oyster mushrooms are capable of inhibiting the growth and dissemination of breast and colon cancer cells. Another study conducted in 2011, showed that oyster mushroom extract had therapeutic effects against colorectal tumours and leukaemia.
Boosts brain function
Oyster mushroom contains niacin, which aids in proper functioning of the brain. Clinical research has shown that niacin protects against Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline in older adults.
Maintains blood pressure
Oyster mushroom contains potassium, which aids in keeping blood pressure at a normal level. Table salt contains sodium, which when consumed in excess can lead to high blood pressure. Potassium helps to lower blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of excess sodium consumption.
Dietary fibers are crucial for maintaining good digestive health. Oyster mushrooms contain dietary fibres, which help absorb water in the intestine. This helps in the smooth movement of faecal matter and thus relieves constipation.
Oyster mushrooms contain iron, which helps in preventing anaemia. Anaemia causes the occurrence of fewer red blood cells than normal. This leads to low production of haemoglobin that in turn reduces the amount of oxygen in the body. All this happens mainly due to iron deficiency, as iron helps in the growth of red blood cells in the body.
How Can You Include Oyster Mushrooms In Your Diet?
Now that we know about the various benefits of eating oyster mushrooms, let us now see how we can incorporate them into our daily lifestyle.
- If you want to follow a vegan diet, but don’t want to lose on your daily intake of proteins, shallow fry oyster mushrooms with salt and pepper and eat them during breakfast.
- Oyster mushroom stir-fry is a common Chinese dish, which can be cooked easily.
- Korean mushroom soup is a nutritious soup which is made with oyster mushrooms. This is extremely beneficial for people following a gluten-free diet.
- Mushroom and peas curry is a lip-smacking Indian dish that can be eaten with chapattis.
- Oyster mushrooms can also be used to make healthy dips and sandwich spread.
Although oyster mushrooms are expensive, it’s one of the best vegetarian sources of protein. This makes it extremely beneficial for us since a large population of Indians are vegetarians.
Disclaimer: Do not eat raw mushrooms, as you may intake spores, which might cause allergic reactions. Oyster mushrooms contain arabitol (a kind of sugar alcohol) that might cause gastrointestinal problems in some people.
100g of oyster mushroom provides 33 calories.
Carbohydrates – 6g (Dietary Fiber – 2.3g, Sugar – 1.1g), Protein – 3.3g, Fat – 0.4g (Saturated fat-0.1g PUFA – 0.1g), Sodium – 18mg, Potassium – 420mg
And percentage daily value of Iron – 7%, Magnesium – 4%, Vitamin D- 7%, Vitamin B6 – 5% (based on a 2,000 calorie diet)