Is oyster mushroom safe to eat? (Health benefits)
In this brief guide, we will answer the question “Is oyster mushroom safe to eat?”. We also will discuss the health benefits of oyster mushrooms and how they are consumed.
Is oyster mushroom safe to eat?
Yes, oyster mushrooms, scientifically known as Pleurotus ostreatus, are safe to eat. These edible fungi are among the most prominent species cultivated for food production. Oyster mushrooms are saprophytic fungi, known for their abundance of bioactive compounds, primarily of phenolic origin. Their consumption has been associated with potential health benefits.
Through my research, I was able to attest that they offer versatile applications in contemporary times. They find use in fields like medicine, pharmacy, food, and fermentation.
Renowned for their high protein content, mushrooms contain all essential amino acids, along with dietary fiber and minimal fat content. In addition to their nutritional profile, mushrooms boast significant amounts of bioactive compounds and vitamins such as phenolic compounds, tocopherols, and carotenoids. (1)
What is the nutritional content of oyster mushrooms?
The oyster mushroom is nutritionally valuable, serving as a significant source of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, calcium, and iron. Researchers have found that the extract of the oyster mushroom is just as effective as dietary supplements in reducing cholesterol levels.
Additionally, this type of mushroom, scientifically known as Pleurotus ostreatus, exhibits robust antinociceptive, antitumor, antioxidant, and immunological properties. (2)
What are the health benefits of oyster mushrooms?
Consuming oyster mushrooms, which are abundant in functional components, has the potential to enhance glucose and lipid metabolism, regulate blood pressure, manage body weight, and influence appetite sensations. This edible fungi is also a notable source of various bioactive compounds, including β-glucans, which can contribute to better cardiometabolic health.
Oyster mushrooms contain A. bisporus, a dietary fiber that has garnered significant attention for its positive impact on preventing conditions like dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, obesity, and hypertension.
The ability of β-glucans to create highly viscous solutions in the human digestive system, coupled with their fermentability, is believed to be pivotal for their health-related benefits, a well-documented fact. Additionally, oyster mushrooms are rich in phenolic compounds, which likely underlie their robust antioxidant properties. (3)
How do oyster mushrooms are consumed?
Oyster mushrooms are one of the most produced edible fungi. Over the past few decades, their popularity has grown significantly due to the potential health benefits associated with their consumption. Numerous countries appreciate mushrooms as a culinary delicacy, valuing their unique aroma, texture, fiber content, and low-calorie characteristics.
Oyster mushrooms, along with their dried powders, blends, aqueous extracts, concentrates, by-products, and bioactive compounds, can be seamlessly integrated into food products to create fortified functional foods.
This not only allows for the substitution of traditional ingredients such as flour, meat, fat, salt, phosphates, nitrates, and antioxidants but also extends the shelf life and reduces production costs. (1, 4)
How does storage affect oyster mushrooms’ shelf life?
Oyster mushrooms are highly perishable, typically having a shelf life of only 1 to 3 days at room temperature during marketing. To extend the shelf life of oyster mushrooms and various other mushroom varieties, Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) proves to be an effective method.
When mushrooms are stored without proper packaging in conventional hardboard boxes, they tend to lose marketability relatively quickly due to factors like weight loss, shrinkage, browning, and spore formation.
However, when mushrooms are packaged with a modified atmosphere, along with a sorbitol pretreatment, the result is mushrooms with improved color and reduced moisture loss (less than 18%) over a storage period of 9 days at 12°C. (5)
Is there any risk in oyster mushroom consumption?
Intermittent incidents of local intoxication have been reported following the consumption of significant quantities of fresh mushrooms by both humans and animals. These incidents have been linked to the presence of heat-sensitive proteinaceous molecules, suggesting that oyster mushrooms should not be consumed in large quantities.
Furthermore, the collection of wild mushrooms is discouraged. Each year, cases of severe human poisoning arise due to the misidentification of toxic mushroom species. Certain species have been identified as hazardous to health and labeled as toxic.
Interestingly, even some mushroom species with potential benefits may contain toxic substances. Accidental ingestion of toxic mushrooms often occurs when species are misidentified. In my view, purchasing mushrooms from retail stores is a prudent choice to mitigate this risk. (6, 7)
What are the symptoms of mushroom poisoning?
Mushroom poisoning can lead to adverse effects, including liver failure, bradycardia, chest pain, seizures, gastroenteritis, intestinal fibrosis, renal failure, erythromelalgia, and rhabdomyolysis. Proper identification and a thorough understanding of mushrooms are crucial for the safe and healthy consumption of mushrooms for both their nutritional and medicinal purposes. (6, 7)
In this brief guide, we answered the question “Is oyster mushroom safe to eat?”. We also discussed the health benefits of oyster mushrooms and how they are consumed. Through my research I was able to uncover that oyster mushrooms are very safe to consume with several health benefits.
Despite that, it should be consumed in moderation because it possesses some substances that might cause ill effects when consumed in great quantities. In my perspective as a food scientist, wild mushrooms should not be consumed because misidentification could lead to the consumption of toxic species.
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TORRES-MARTÍNEZ, Brisa del Mar et al. Pleurotus genus as a potential ingredient for meat products. Foods, v. 11, n. 6, p. 779, 2022.
LI, Huizhen et al. Yield, size, nutritional value, and antioxidant activity of oyster mushrooms grown on perilla stalks. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, v. 24, n. 2, p. 347-354, 2017.
DICKS, Lisa; ELLINGER, Sabine. Effect of the intake of oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) on cardiometabolic parameters—A systematic review of clinical trials. Nutrients, v. 12, n. 4, p. 1134, 2020.
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ŽUŽEK, Monika Cecilija et al. Toxic and lethal effects of ostreolysin, a cytolytic protein from edible oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus), in rodents. Toxicon, v. 48, n. 3, p. 264-271, 2006.
JO, Woo-Sik; HOSSAIN, Md Akil; PARK, Seung-Chun. Toxicological profiles of poisonous, edible, and medicinal mushrooms. Mycobiology, v. 42, n. 3, p. 215-220, 2014.