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Beta Glucans in Oyster Mushrooms

You may not have even heard of Beta Glucans, but you're going to want to read this. Mushrooms contain these extremely healthy compounds known as Beta Glucans. These compounds are a soluble fiber, also found in whole grains, which are long or short-chain polymers of glucose subunits with Beta 1,3 and 1,6 linages (although cereals do not have the 1,6 linkages, nor branching structures). I know how dry that reads, so let's talk what this all means to you and why you should probably be eating more mushrooms.

Beta-glucans have shown promise in supporting the immune system, digestive tract health (especially those with irritable bowel disease), heart health, respiratory infections, and even cancer as something that can aid in chemotherapy. While the research requires more documentation to confirm all of these benefits, it's an easy extrapolation to assume given what we know about the Beta Glucans present in oats and barley.

In the figure shown, according the "Chemical structures of β-glucans. The side branches of mushroom β-glucans (A) are attached to the β-1,3-D-glucan main chain by a β-1,6 linkage, and may consist of one or several β-D-glucose units; cereal β-glucans (B) are linear and consist of D-glucose molecules linked by 1,3 β- and 1,4 β- linkages." Just kinda neat!

Beta Glucans reduce inflammation, provide great gut health, and can even lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. You get a powerhouse of this compound from eating mushrooms. Oyster Mushrooms and Shiitake have an incredible load of Beta Glucans and, when cooked, they are quite bioavailable.

The bottom line: eating more mushrooms, especially gourmet varieties, is a wonder for your health. You really need to be eating more. They're delicious and good for your total health.

Sources cited

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