Highly nutritious and extremely delicious, Mulberries are loved and enjoyed by people throughout the world. These berries come from the mulberry tree that belongs to the genus Morus and Moraceae family. There are numerous species of Morus plants that produce different colored berries (red, white, purple, black, blue etc). The most commonly known mulberries are red mulberry (Morus rubra) belonging to eastern parts of the United States, white mulberry (Morus alba) belonging to central and eastern china and the black mulberry (Morus nigra) belonging to the western regions of Asia.
Mulberries appear similar to a blackberry, but are very sweet and less tart in taste. The mulberry trees grow well in temperate and subtropical parts of the world like Africa, Asia and America. The leaves of the mulberry tree have great nutritional value and also form the food of silkworms. The mulberry leaf tea is popular in China and research suggests that it can fight diabetes. Mulberries can be consumed raw, dried, in the form of preserves or in the cooked form.
Nutritional value of Mulberries
Mulberries are a storehouse of powerful nutrients and antioxidants. They are rich in fiber, vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, folate, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin etc) and minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium). It is also an excellent source of protein. Mulberries also have high levels of antioxidants that help to protect us from the harmful effects of free radicals. Another great thing about mulberries is that they are low in saturated fats, sodium and cholesterol. Polynutrients including flavonoids, anthocyanin, zea-xanthin, and lutein are also abundant in these berries. Mulberries have high energy content and almost no fat content, which makes it an ideal food for people trying to losing weight. Including nutrient rich berries in your diet is guaranteed to improve your overall health
Health benefits of mulberries
Mulberries are packed with nutrition and they taste great. The fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients contained in this amazing fruit offers numerous health benefits and medicinal properties. A few of the many health benefits of this fruit are listed below:
Mulberries and cancer
As mentioned earlier, mulberries are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients like resveratrol that can protect you from cancer. They are also found to be effective in stopping the growth and development of the cancer cells.
Mulberries fight against free radicals
The powerful antioxidant properties of mulberries protect us from the dangerous effects of free radicals. It also prevents the accumulation of plaque in the blood vessels, thus protecting against conditions like stroke and heart attack.
Mulberries improve your immune system
Mulberries are loaded with plenty of vitamins and antioxidants that boost your immune system and protect you from illnesses or infections. The alkaloids present in this fruit activate the white blood cells, thereby strengthening your immunity.
Benefits of Mulberries for skin
Free radicals are responsible for causing early aging signs like wrinkles and fine lines. The high levels of antioxidants in mulberries nullify the effect of free radicals. In addition to the antioxidants, the vitamins contained in mulberries can also reduce wrinkles and damages to the skin. This fruit also regulates the synthesis of melanin and protects your skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Vitamin E and vitamin A present in mulberries moisturizes and prevents dehydration of your skin. Regular intake of mulberries can remove blemishes and scars from your skin leaving it healthy and radiant.
Mulberries for increased bone strength
Mulberries are rich in calcium and phosphorus, both of which play a vital role in keeping your bones strong and healthy. Maintaining healthy bones is essential to prevent conditions like osteoporosis.
Mulberries as blood tonic
Mulberries have the power to cleanse or purify your blood and hence in traditional Chinese medicine, mulberries are used as a blood tonic. The production of blood can also be increased by consuming this fruit.
Mulberries as a cure for anemia
Mulberries are rich in iron content and hence can prevent anemia induced by the deficiency of iron. Ancient Chinese people used mulberry juice to improve blood circulation and for treating anemia.
Benefits of Mulberries for hair
Mulberries are found to strengthen your hair and promote its growth. It also prevents premature graying of hair by triggering the production of melanin. Massaging mulberry juice on your scalp everyday can help to strengthen the roots of your hair and enhance hair growth too.
Mulberries help in digestion
The high fiber content of mulberries aids in the easy digestion of food and prevents constipation. Drinking mulberry juice regularly can help you maintain regular bowel movements. This can prevent many of the digestive problems that arise as a result of irregular bowel movements.
Mulberries and Diabetes
The leaves of mulberry find an important place in traditional Chinese medicine for treating and preventing diabetes. For diabetics, it is extremely vital to keep the level of blood glucose under control. Studies suggest that mulberries are capable of enhancing the glycemic control in people suffering from type 2 diabetes. According to a research conducted at the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences in Japan, Mulberry leaves contain a compound known as deoxynojirimycin that slows down the rate at which carbohydrate is broken down and also prevents dangerous spikes in the blood sugar levels.
Mulberries lower cholesterol
High levels of LDL or bad cholesterol can block your blood vessels leading to many serious medical problems like stroke, high blood pressure and heart attack. Mulberries help to lower the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) in your body and prevent many of these conditions.
Mulberries can reverse the effect of alcohol
The effects of too much alcohol in your body can be reversed by drinking mulberry juice. Mulberries speed up the rate at which alcohol is digested by your system. It also helps to prevent you from having a severe hangover the next day.
Mulberries for post-operative patients
The enzymes in mulberries have the power to improve blood circulation and speed up the process of healing. Faster healing reduces your chances of getting an infection. Because of its healing properties, mulberries are widely used in some countries as an anti-inflammatory agent to speed up recovery after surgery.
Improve your vision with mulberries
Mulberries have a high level of vitamin A that helps to improve and strengthen your vision. For people who work for long hours in front of the computer, daily intake of mulberry juice is a great way to relieve eye strain.
Mulberries for relieving dehydration effects
Dehydration, if not properly taken care of can lead to serious problems like lack of concentration, energy loss, and sometimes even fainting. If you are suffering from dehydration, a great remedy to get over these effects is to drink a glass of mulberry juice. This fruit will help you regain the lost fluids and thus improve your condition.
Mulberries against gout and arthritis
Gout, a medical condition caused by the increased amount of uric acid in the blood is characterized by the swelling of joints. The uric acid precipitates and deposits in the tendons and joints causing inflammation and immense pain. Mulberries, with their potent anti-inflammatory properties can help to reduce inflammation and is hence used for treating gout and arthritis.
Mulberries for controlling weight
Mulberries contain almost no fat and hence you can eat them as often as you want without the fear of gaining weight. The high fiber content helps in easy digestion and makes you feel fuller for a long period of time. This avoids hunger pangs or the need for frequent snacking, which is a very important factor in weight management.
Medicinal properties of mulberry tea
The mulberry leaf is rich in vitamins and minerals and has immense medicinal properties. Tea made using these leaves is useful in regulating the blood sugar level, reducing high blood pressure and also in reducing the level of bad cholesterol in the body. According to Chinese medicine, mulberry leaves also have the power to fight cancer cells. The other medicinal effects of mulberry green tea include prevention of blood clots, improved blood circulation and pain relief.
Some easy and delicious ways to eat mulberries
Mulberries can be included in your diet in so many ways. Some of them include making smoothies with them, adding chopped mulberries to breakfast cereals and granola bars, making mulberry pie, adding chopped mulberries in muffins, cakes, and pancakes, making jams and spreads, and adding mulberries to salads.
Where can you get mulberry products?
Almost all parts of the mulberry plant are useful and have several benefits. Fresh mulberries can be obtained from grocery stores, farmer’s market and also supermarkets. It is important to consume the fresh berries as soon as you buy them because they do not last long and get spoilt very quickly. Dried berries can be obtained from wholesale markets and supermarkets as well. Another important part of the plant that has health benefits is the mulberry leaf. Mulberry leaf tea can be purchased from tea stores or your local supermarket. Having a mulberry tree of your own enables you to have fresh mulberries. These trees can be obtained from the local nurseries or garden centers.
Considering all these super qualities of mulberries that promote your general health, why not include it in your daily diet? Eat fresh mulberries or enjoy a nice cup of mulberry tea every day or even add these sweet and delicious fruits to cereals, smoothies etc. No matter how you consume mulberries, you are bound to reap the health benefits offered by this remarkable fruit.
Try out some Mulberry Recipes at home:
How to make Mulberry Muffin?
Preheat oven at 180 C. Grease a muffin tray. In a bowl beat 150 g butter, 2 egg, 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup yogurt. Combine 2 cup multi grain or wheat flour, 1/2 cup of ground flax seeds, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda in a bowl. I Combine contents of both bowls and mix till even. Add a cup of fresh washed mulberries. Pour the mixture in muffin tray and bake for 20 or more minutes at 120 C until the muffins are golden brown from outside.
Mulberry Juice / Cocktail
Wash 12 to 14 fresh red mulberries. Muddle the mulberries and strain pulp through medium sievve. Discard the remaining or wash your skin with the extract for enjoying benefits of mulberry for skin. Add 2 tsp of sugar to the pulp. Add some cold water. Serve with freshly cut mulberry pieces and ice cubes.Image Credits: Flickr -Eric Schmuttenmaer, Flickr - Raelene Gutierrez, Anna (Morsels and Musings)