Mulberries are large, deciduous trees native to warm, temperate, and subtropical regions of Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Each fruit measures 2-5 cm long. In most species, mulberries are purple-red when ripen. However, they can be white, red, purple or multiple variegated colors in the same fruit.
There are three species of mulberries:
- White mulberry (Morus alba).
- Red or American mulberry (Morus rubra).
- Black mulberry (Morus nigra).
Mulberries are refreshingly succulent, tart and sweet fruits. They are rich in numerous health benefiting flavonoid phyto-nutrients.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF MULBERRIES
- Delicious, fleshy, succulent mulberries are low in calories (only about 43 calories per 100 g). They compose of health promoting phyto-nutrient compounds like polyphenol pigment antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.
- Mulberries have significantly high amounts of phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals called anthocyanins. Scientific studies have shown that consumption of berries have potential health effects against cancer, ageing and neurological diseases, inflammation, diabetes and bacterial infections.
- The berries contain resveratrol, another polyphenol flavonoid antioxidant. Resveratrol protects against stroke risk by altering molecular mechanisms in the blood vessels.
- In addition, these berries are an excellent source of vitamin C (33 mg per 100, about 41% of RDA), which is also a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents, counter inflammation and scavenge harmful free radicals.
- Further, the berries also contain small amounts of vitamin A and vitamin E. Consumption of mulberry provides another group of health promoting flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin, ß-carotene and α-carotene in small but notably significant amounts. Altogether, these compounds help act as protect from harmful effects of oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in ageing and various disease processes.
- Zea-xanthin, an important dietary carotenoid selectively concentrates into the retinal macula lutea, where it thought to provide antioxidant functions and protects the retina from the harmful ultraviolet rays through light-filtering actions.
- Mulberries are an excellent source of iron, which is a rare feature among berries. They contain 1.85 mg of iron per 100 g of fruit (about 13% of RDA). Iron, being a component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells, determines the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
- They are also good source of minerals like potassium, manganese, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
- They are rich in B-complex group of vitamins and vitamin K. Contain very good amounts of vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin and folic acid. These vitamins function as co-factors and help body in the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein and fats.
SIDE EFFECT OF MULBERRIES
As mulberries are highly dense with potassium it creates discomfort to the kidney patient. So avoid eating large quantities of mulberries.
Source: Nutrition and you