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The oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus)is an edible mushroom named for its shell-like appearance, colour and resemblance to oysters. These mushrooms can be found growing on the dead trees or fallen logs.
Oyster mushrooms are a type of fungi that have been used for thousands of years in the culinary and medicinal world. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) oyster mushrooms are used to treat a variety of health problems .
Oyster mushrooms are versatile and serve an integral part in many Asian dishes . They have a mild flavour and the aroma of licorice.
Nutritional Value Of Oyster Mushrooms
100 g of oyster mushrooms contain 89.18 g water, 33 kcal energy and it also contains:
• 3.31 g protein
• 0.41 g fat
• 6.09 g carbohydrate
• 2.3 g fibre
• 1.11 g sugar
• 3 mg calcium
• 1.33 mg iron
• 18 mg magnesium
• 120 mg phosphorus
• 420 mg potassium
• 18 mg sodium
• 0.77 mg zinc
• 0.244 mg copper
• 0.113 mg manganese
• 2.6 µg selenium
• 0.125 mg thiamine
• 0.349 mg riboflavin
• 4.956 mg niacin
• 1.294 mg pantothenic acid
• 0.11 mg vitamin B6
• 38 µg folate
• 48.7 mg choline
• 48 IU vitamin A
• 29 IU vitamin D
Types Of Oyster Mushrooms
• Pearl oyster mushrooms - It is the most common type of oyster mushrooms that are used in cooking all over the world.
• Blue oyster mushrooms - This type of mushroom is dark blue in colour and slowly the colour lightens once it matures.
• Golden oyster mushrooms - They are bright yellow in colour and have a more complex and aromatic flavour.
• Pink oyster mushrooms - They are bright pink in colour, which naturally fades when it's cooked. They have a pungent taste.
• King oyster mushrooms - It is also known as king trumpet mushrooms and is considered the largest of all the oyster mushrooms.
Health Benefits Of Oyster Mushrooms
1. Reduce cholesterol levels
Oyster mushrooms have been shown to lower cholesterol naturally in both animal and human studies. An animal study showed that oyster mushrooms reduced cholesterol levels by 37 per cent and lowered triglycerides by 45 per cent .
In addition, oyster mushrooms are a good source of fibre which is known to improve heart health and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.
2. Strengthen immunity
A 2017 study found that oyster mushrooms contain compounds that act as immunomodulators, which aid in boosting the immune system .
3. Boost brain function
Oyster mushrooms are rich in niacin (vitamin B3), an important nutrient that has been shown to lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease and age-related cognitive decline .
4. Lower inflammation
Inflammation is the body's normal immune response that protects the body against infections and diseases. On the other hand, chronic inflammation is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Several studies have shown that oyster mushrooms possess powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help control inflammation  .
5. Decrease blood sugar levels
Increasing the consumption of oyster mushrooms has been shown to lower the risk of diabetes. A study pointed out that oyster mushrooms are rich in β-glucans, a water-soluble dietary fibre that may help improve glucose levels, which can aid in reducing diabetes risk  .
6. Lower blood pressure levels
The antihypertensive activity of oyster mushrooms has been shown to lower high blood pressure. The presence of β-glucans in oyster mushrooms has been shown to have an effect on blood pressure levels .
7. Fight off free radicals
Antioxidants help fight off free radicals and prevent cell damage. Some studies have reported that oyster mushrooms contain health-promoting antioxidants which can help fight off free radicals and lower the risk of chronic health conditions  .
8. May manage cancer
Oyster mushrooms exhibit anti-tumour properties which have been shown to stop the growth of cancer cells. A study published in the International Journal of Oncology showed that oyster mushrooms have the potent ability to suppress the growth of breast cancer and colon cancer cells .
Another 2011 study showed that oyster mushroom extract had therapeutic effects against colorectal tumour and leukaemia cells .
Side Effects Of Oyster Mushrooms
People who are allergic to mushrooms and other types of fungi should avoid consuming oyster mushrooms. Also, oyster mushrooms contain smaller amounts of arabitol, a type of sugar alcohol that can cause gastrointestinal problems in some people. One case report published in the European Respiratory Journal found that a mushroom worker who came in contact with oyster mushrooms experienced joint pain, fever, chills and skin rashes .
Oyster mushrooms are available in fresh, dried and canned form which can be added to your favourite recipes.
Oyster Mushroom Recipes
Egg flower soup with oyster mushroom 
• 150 g fresh oyster mushrooms
• 2 green onion, chopped
• 3 slices ginger
• 1 whisked egg
• A pinch of salt
• 1 tbsp cooking oil
• ½ tsp sesame oil
• 4-6 cups of water or stock
• Heat oil in a pot and fry the oyster mushrooms for 30 seconds until they turn slightly soft.
• Pour water or stock and the ginger slices and bring it to a boil. Then, simmer it for 5-8 minutes.
• Increase the stove heat and pour the whisked egg into it and stir it. Keep stirring till the egg flower is formed and turn off the fire.
• Add sesame oil and salt, and mix it well.
• Garnish with chopped green onions.
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