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Morels, scientifically known as Morchella esculenta, are delicious mushrooms that are enjoyed all across the world. Morel mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine for centuries because of the wide range of health benefits they provide to the human body.  The mushroom type is also known as the Gucchi mushroom.
According to a study, morels have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as immunostimulatory and anti-tumour capabilities. Polysaccharides, as active molecules, and other phytochemicals like tocopherols, ascorbic acid and vitamin D, are the main reasons for the therapeutic activities of morel mushrooms.
Morel mushrooms always have enormous demand. Despite their growing economic importance, cultivation is limited, and they are either wild harvested or fermented in culture for use as a functional food and food flavouring.
In this article, we will discuss some of the health benefits of morel mushrooms. Take a look.
Nutritional Profile Of Morel Mushrooms
Morels have an amazing savoury flavour. Studies related to the mushroom's taste and aroma reveal that they have eight carbon volatiles, the major aroma volatiles typical of most mushrooms.
Polysaccharides, protein  and polynucleotides are some of the primary bioactive compounds in morel mushrooms. They also include other nutrients like dietary fibre, iron and calcium.
According to the USDA, 100 g of raw morel mushrooms contains 89.6 g of water and yields 129 kJ of energy. They also contain: 
Protein: 3.12 g
Fibre: 2.8 g
Calcium: 43 mg
Iron: 12.2 mg
Magnesium: 19 mg
Phosphorus: 194 mg
Potassium: 411 mg
Sodium: 21 mg
Zinc: 2.03 mg
Manganese: 0.59 mg
Copper: 0.63 mg
Selenium: 2.2 mcg
Vitamin B1: 0.069 mg
Vitamin B2: 0.2 mg
Vitamin B3: 2.25 mg
Vitamin B5: 0.44 mg
Vitamin B6:0.136 mg
Folate: 9 mcg
Vitamin D: 206 IU
Health Benefits Of Morel Mushrooms
1. May prevent the risk of heart diseases
According to a study, edible mushrooms like morels have positive effects on the health of the heart. Morel consumption may help reduce ‘bad' or LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol in the body and increase ‘good' or HDL cholesterol. Reduction in these metabolic markers due to the potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of morels may help decrease the risk of heart diseases and lower complications in people with the condition. 
2. May help in weight management
Obesity is one of the major metabolic disorders that often lead to chronic diseases like diabetes and heart diseases. Though obesity is 70 per cent genetic, diet may help reduce obesity up to a great extent. Morels, either in the form of foods or supplements, may help in weight management due to the presence of polysaccharides like mainly beta-d-glucans and polyphenols like flavonoids, terpenes and alkaloids.  They are also rich in dietary fibre and low in calories that help with weight loss.
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3. Strengthen bones
Morel mushrooms have an abundance of vitamin D. The vitamin is known to help the body absorb calcium and help strengthen bones. It increases muscle strength and lowers the risk of fractures in older adults. Vitamin D also has a great role in preventing Parkinson's disease, cognitive impairment and mental health issues like depression. 
4. May have anti-tumour effects
Polysaccharides in morels have anti-proliferating and anti-tumour effects, says a study. Consumption of the mushroom can help reduce the proliferation of cells and reduce cancer risks such as colon cancer.  Other studies say that beta-glucan containing polysaccharides in morels can be used for immunotherapy and cancer treatment. 
5. Help in healthy ageing
Free radicals in the body are largely related to ageing. When free radicals outnumber, they may cause DNA and mitochondrial damage and lead to premature ageing. Morel mushrooms have excellent free radical scavenging properties and may help reduce their effects, thus helping in healthy ageing. The mushrooms also help maintain good skin health and prevent related diseases. 
6. Prevent oedema
Oedema is swelling of the body tissues that make the skin look sore, heavy and tight. Morels, abundantly grown in Kashmir, are known to have anti-inflammatory properties and may inhibit oedema caused due to various factors like arthritis. They may also help relieve the pain caused due to inflammation. 
7. May help manage diabetes
Polyphenols like flavonoids, alkaloids and terpenes in morels have glucose-lowering effects in the body. On the other hand, polysaccharides are also known to reduce fasting blood glucose and cholesterol levels in the body. This makes morel mushrooms one of the best food items to prevent and manage diabetes in individuals. 
8. Good for oral health
Morel mushrooms contain about 194 mg of phosphorus. The nutrient may help strengthen the teeth and improve oral health. Phosphate is also good for cellular functions, removing waste from the kidneys and promoting healthy nerves. The antimicrobial effects of morels may also help fight oral diseases like plaque. 
9. Benefit kidneys
100 g of morel mushrooms contain around 411 mg of potassium. The mineral is an electrolyte that helps manage body functions like muscle contractions, blood pressure, nerve signals and pH balance. Potassium, also being a diuretic, helps kidneys to get rid of body toxins effectively and maintain their functions. It may also help prevent potassium-deficiency symptoms like fatigue, muscle weakness and cramping. 
10. Boost immunity
Vitamins like D, B1. B2, B3, B5 and minerals like zinc, selenium and iron in morel mushrooms may help boost immunity and keep the body healthy. These nutrients are important for the growth, repair and function of immune cells so that they can effectively fight against various pathogens entering the body. 
April and early May are the best times of the year to enjoy morel mushrooms and get their health benefits. Avoid their overconsumption and if you want to consume them for a specific health benefit, consult a medical expert or a nutritionist first.
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