Mushrooms are one of nature’s greatest gifts. Grown in humid and dark environments, mushrooms have become an incredibly important part of the indoor farming revolution. While plants typically require a lot of space and sunlight and thus are not feasible for growing for the vast majority of people living in houses today. Mushrooms on the other hand are not only delicious but also have incredible health benefits for people who would like to make the switch to a healthier lifestyle. Mushrooms are essentially a type of fungi that is classed differently from plants.
There are different types of mushrooms out there. One of the most popular types is Oyster Mushrooms, also known scientifically as Pleurotus. Being one of the more resilient species of mushrooms, Oyster mushrooms are known for being able to survive and thrive in conditions that would be less than ideal for any other species of mushrooms. Due to this, they are a very popular ‘starter mushroom’ choice. It also doesn’t hurt that they are quite aesthetically pleasing as well. The different varieties such as pink oysters and blue oysters are known for their rather striking appearance. The name oyster mushroom comes from the resemblance that they bear to fresh-shucked oysters. Even their history is rather interesting. First cultivated during the first world war in Germany in order for them to be used as a food source in the war, oyster mushrooms quickly rose to popularity and are now popular across the globe. Today, we’ll be getting into the numerous health benefits of the different types of oyster mushrooms.
Before we get into that, it is important to understand that one of the best ways to consume oyster mushrooms is to buy a mushroom growing kit such as a blue oyster growing kit or a pink oyster growing kit and experience the beautiful sensation of nurturing a form of life.
Different Types of Oyster Mushrooms
There are several different types of oyster mushrooms found in different parts of the world. These include king oyster mushrooms, pink oyster, phoenix oyster, golden oyster, blue oyster, and pearl oyster.
Being quite aptly named, king oyster mushrooms are known for their size. They are found in the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. They have a rather meaty texture and can be cooked in a variety of different ways such as being grilled, sauteed, braised, or broiled. Since they are cultivated throughout Asia, they have become an important part of Chinese, Japanese and Korean cuisines. Considering their meaty texture, they are often used in place of meat.
Pink oyster mushrooms have a beautiful pink color that almost gives them a flowery appeal. They are known for being fast growers but are also quite delicate and thus do not have much of a shelf life. Being tropical mushrooms, they prefer warm temperatures and are found generally in tropical hardwoods. From underneath, they have deep pink color. However, as time passes, their pink color generally starts to fade.
Phoenix oysters, also known as Indian or Italian oysters are another popular type of oyster mushrooms. As is characteristic of any type of mushroom, Phoenix oysters are easy to grow and do not require much in the way of care. They have a rather fine flavor and have soft and tender stems that may or may not require removal when being cooked. They have caps that can be as long as 20 centimeters in diameter and as short as 5 cm. They are often used as a substitute for seafood due to their having an aroma that is reminiscent of seafood.
Native to Russia, Northern China, and Japan, golden oysters’ name is a reference to their yellowish-golden color that is certain to be spotted by the eye. They are perhaps the most vulnerable of oyster species and have a very short shelf life. As time passes, their color fades away. They grow in the form of multiple clusters in a shape that is described as a bouquet. In fact, one could quite easily mistake this brilliantly colorful type of mushroom to be a flower.
Blue oyster mushrooms are perhaps the most common form of oyster mushrooms that you can buy. Known for their blue color, they are a popular choice among beginner mushroom enthusiasts. Essentially a subspecies of pearl oyster mushrooms, they share most of their characteristics with them except the color. Their taste is very meaty and can be used effectively in a variety of dishes.
Improving Immune System
The spread of COVID 19 reminded humanity of its mortality on many levels. People who were affected the most were those who had weak immune systems. Even now, the sound of a stray cough inspires fear in the eyes of people that is rather hard to forget. In this time, when we are shown our vulnerability to the outside, the smart thing to do is to strengthen our immune system. Oyster mushrooms are a great way of doing that. The beta-glucans that oyster mushrooms possess in spades are a great way of strengthening your immune system. They reduce the risk of heart disease and have shown antimicrobial properties as well. They are also rich in anti-oxidants that will help to minimize free radical damage which is one of the biggest causes of aging.
Helping Regulate Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is known as a lethal silent killer. The more your blood pressure spikes, the lesser your life expectancy and the more irreversible damage to your body. Nutrients like vitamin D can have a powerful effect on controlling your blood pressure and a natural way of getting vitamin D naturally is to get it through oyster mushrooms. In the age of work-from-home, one unintended side effect is the lack of sunlight that people are getting. This upsets the balance of the body as we require the vitamin D that we get from sunlight. Thus, the consumption of oyster mushrooms can really help people who have had reduced sunlight exposure.
Have Potential Anti-Tumor Effects
Studies have shown that mushrooms might have potential anti-tumor effects. Animal testing has provided enough evidence for such a correlation, but it is yet to be proven for humans.
Perhaps the most important characteristic of oyster mushrooms is their characteristic meaty taste. This means that people who cannot eat meat can recreate that feeling by substituting oyster mushrooms in their diets. Since oyster mushrooms are a form of fungi, they are low on fat and can be used to lower cholesterol.
Regulate Sugar Levels
Diabetes is one of the most commonly reported diseases in the world. Several studies have shown a correlation between lower blood sugar levels and consuming oyster mushrooms. Nearly 10% of all Americans have some form of diabetes and with the quality of our diet declining each day, this number is sure to increase. By consuming oyster mushrooms, this harmful process can be controlled much more effectively. Even more importantly, the simple fact mushrooms can substitute more harmful food in your diet can have a massive impact on your blood sugar levels.
As already mentioned, oyster mushrooms are rich in vitamin D. Vitamin D and magnesium if I’m being precise. Along with calcium, vitamin D and magnesium form the trifecta of strong bones. Blue oyster mushrooms can become an integral part of the decision to improve your bone healthy by providing you with 2 of the 3 elements required for that.
The beta-glucans and antioxidants also have the effect of lowering inflammation in the human body. There have been studies that have shown that oyster mushrooms’ anti-inflammatory properties come from an amino acid that can lower ‘systemic’ inflammation throughout the body rather than just focusing on one part. This kind of ‘systemic’ inflammation is known to be the cause of dementia and/or diabetes.
Neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia are truly scary prospects to ponder over. Not being in control of your own body and losing your sense of self are all thoughts that must encircle the minds of people who have been diagnosed with these diseases. In many ways, one has to mold one’s lifestyle in advance to make sure that these diseases are kept at bay. The amino acid ergothioneine found in oyster mushrooms can play this role just as well. The antioxidant nature protects the cells against free radical damage and slows down the process of aging substantially.
Oyster mushrooms are a reminder of how our mechanized lives can only be balanced from the kiss of nature. With diseases such as high cholesterol, blood pressure, and heart disease being so widespread due to the consumption of foods that can adversely affect your health, we need to go back to nature. A great way of that is to consume oyster mushrooms. They are easy to grow with mushroom growth kits being widely available and are generally more resilient to bad growing conditions than other types of mushrooms. As a closing argument, I will be making a bad pun. If you eat oyster mushrooms, the world will be your oyster!