Related to figs and breadfruit, mulberries are the fruits of mulberry trees (Morus).
As they are the only food that silkworms can eat, mulberry trees are traditionally grown for their leaves, mainly in Asia and North America.Mulberries are gaining increased interest worldwide, because of their numerous health benefits, sweet flavor and impressive nutritional value.
Chinese herbal medicine has used mulberry trees for thousands of years to treat diseases like heart disease, diabetes, anemia and arthritis.Mulberries are most commonly made into fruit juice, tea, wine, jam or canned foods, but can also be dried and consumed as a snack.
This is what mulberries usually look like:
There are 24 species of mulberry trees, many of which have numerous different varieties. The most commonly grown species are red, black and white.
The leaves, bark and other parts of the mulberry tree have also been used in Chinese herbal medicine.
Mulberries are often consumed dried, similar to raisins.
When dried, they contain 70% carbs, 14% fiber, 12% protein and 3% fat, which makes them fairly high in protein, at least compared to most berries.
Fresh mulberries contain 88% water and only 60 calories per cup (140 grams).
By fresh weight, they contain 9.8% carbs, 1.7% fiber, 1.4% protein and 0.4% fat.
The carbohydrates are mostly simple sugars, such as glucose and fructose, but they also contain some starch and fiber.
Fresh mulberries consist of 9.8% carbohydrates or 14 grams per cup.
Mulberries are a decent fiber source, corresponding to 1.7% of their fresh weight.
The fibers are both soluble (25%) in the form of pectin, and insoluble (75%) in the form of lignin.
Fibers help us to maintain a healthy digestive system, decrease cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of many diseases.
Vitamins and Minerals:
Mulberries are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals: Vitamin C, E, K1, K, iron, potassium.
Other Plant Compounds
Mulberries are rich in plant compounds which contribute to their color and beneficial health effects: Anthocyanins, Cyanidin, Chlorogenic acid, Rutin and Myricetin.
Health Benefits of Mulberries
Mulberries or mulberry extracts may be beneficial against several chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Mulberries may lower cholesterol levels, help prevent fatty liver disease and improve blood sugar control. They also decrease oxidative stress, which may lead to reduced risk of several cancers.
Adverse Effects and Individual Concerns
Even though allergy to mulberries is rare, however, the pollen from mulberry trees has been reported to cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Individuals who are sensitive to birch pollen may also react to mulberries, as a result of cross-reactivity.