I was pondering the incredible health benefits of morel mushrooms the other day and something suddenly occurred to me. There are only 2 reasons people eat mushrooms. Can you think of what they might be?
The first is the most obvious one, being taste. If mushrooms didn’t have a wonderful flavor, what would be the point in hunting for them?
Many people go to great lengths to source quality mushrooms for themselves and their families. While a quick trip to the supermarket may provide a decent supply of mushroom varieties, you can not purchase all varieties.
A vast majority of flavorsome mushrooms only grow in the wild. And that means donning your hat, basket and mushroom knife and heading outdoors to spend some time finding them.
The other reason people eat mushrooms is for their health benefits. While many researchers still study mushrooms on a daily basis, many cultures around the world already know a lot of the information.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of years of historical use, has grown a vast amount of knowledge on the benefits of these amazing fungus.
There are many articles that share some of these, including the health benefits of Chaga mushroom, Shiitake mushroom, Chicken of the Woods, and many more. But there’s one mushroom that hails above all else as the true pinnacle of a mushroom hunter’s basket.
The morel mushroom is one of those varieties that are popular and also one of the hardest to find, given their limited availability and growing season.
A Quick Morel Lesson
For those that don’t know, morels are my ultimate go-to comfort food. Thick slices of the mushroom, fried in some fresh butter, and sprinkled with a light coating of sea salt and cracked pepper. There’s not a lot to the dish and yet, it’s one of my favorites.
But one of the most important things to remember with morel mushrooms is that they have a toxic lookalike. The false morel, as it’s known, looks very similar to a true morel. Knowing how to tell the difference is one of the cardinal rules for any mushroom hunter.
The cap of a true morel looks a little like honeycomb, distinct ridges and valleys peppered all over its surface. The false morel’s cap looks wavier, almost like a brain. While the true morel stands tall, almost to attention, the false morel looks deflated, as if emotionally defeated.
The stem of a true morel stops at the cap, while the false morel’s seems to continue inside. The true morel’s cap is also hollow, while fibrous material fills the false one. It’s worth noting these distinct differences so when you come across one, you’ll know immediately what you have.
The Health Benefits of Morel Mushrooms
There are several health reasons why people choose to include morel mushrooms in their diets. Probably more exist than I have mentioned here, but for me, the following 7 are the most important ones.
Benefit #1: Mushrooms are efficient environmental vacuum cleaners
They absorb all the nasty bacteria in the soils and trees around them. Mushrooms in general have vast amounts of antibacterial properties and the morel is no exception.
They contain high levels of Beta-D-Glucans, as well as Polysaccharides, which boost your immune system and actively work to inhibit tumors.
Benefit #2: Rich in antioxidants
Conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, Types 1 and 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease all share a commonality with oxidative stress. Eating foods rich in antioxidants helps protect against these known conditions.
Morels contain high amounts of antioxidants, which also inhibit lipid peroxidation, preventing inflammation and cancer from damaged skin.
Benefit #3: Reduce negative symptoms
Many pharmaceutical drugs on the market today carry some significant side effects when taken. Common antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs many consider necessary, leave some patients suffering in their wake. But morel mushrooms help reduce these symptoms.
Benefit #4: High levels of minerals
Morels contain high levels of minerals, including Copper, Iron, Manganese, and Zinc. Zinc is one of the essential nutrients for cellular metabolism.
Benefit #5: Low in calories
The morel mushroom is considered a low calorie-food, giving anyone watching their weight, a great food source. 100 grams of the mushroom only contain around 31 calories, making them perfect for those on weight-loss diets.
Benefit #6: Strong teeth and bones
Just 100g of morel mushrooms contain 194mg of Phosphorous and 43mg of calcium, both beneficial for the development of strong and healthy teeth and bones.
Benefit #7: Protects the liver
Morel Mycelium Extract has shown to effectively protect the liver from damage, as well as restore antioxidants reserves.
While modern researchers still try and effectively confirm all the wonders the mushroom world provides us, many claim to have already discovered the truth. There’s no denying the health benefits many experiences, which for me, makes eating this tasty treat that much more special.