Mull These Over! The Health Benefits of Mulberries
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Mulberries are closely related to other kinds of berries, but they are somewhat unique in their way. There are over 100 species of morus (the mulberry genus), and they come from all over the world. Certain strains are native to areas of the earth. Different color berries can come from a single plant, though, so the categorization of the mulberry and its relatives is often made by distinguishing the buds and leaves’ color, rather than the berry’s color. There are three species in particular which are very significant: The White mulberry (Morus alba) is a kind of berry which is native to eastern and central China. It grows fast, but does not last too long.
The Red or American mulberry (Morus rubra) is native to the eastern and central United States. This one is a relatively taller tree, sometimes reaching close to 70 feet, and it has a lifespan of over 100 years. Finally the Black mulberry (Morus nigra) is native to western Asia. It is not to be confused with blackberry, which is a different kind of berry. It can grow up to approximately 40 feet, and the fruit is dark purple, heavily resembling black, which is where the name ties into the whole thing. The health benefits of mulberries are just as important as their origins, as we will detail below!
Mulberries and Silk Explained
Before getting into the health benefits of these sweet, tart, tasty berries, I am going to mention the silk industry. The leaves of the mulberry, and in particular the white mulberry of China is used to feed the silkworm. Other kinds of creatures eat the mulberry, but the silkworm has the white mulberry as its main source of food. In other words, this plant has huge significance, ecologically and economically speaking. The cocoons of the silkworm are used to make silk, and in order for this little creature to continue existing, it is up to us to keep it fed.
The Health Benefits of Mulberries
So, what kids of nutrients can we find inside of the mulberry? In a serving which weighs 100 grams, mulberries (raw ones, not processed or treated ones) provide 43 calories, 44% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C, and 14% of the recommended daily amount of iron. Other nutrients include B complex vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, and trace minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
However, compared to the iron and vitamin C, these minerals and vitamins are in lesser amounts. Still, there is a lot that the mulberry can do for us and our bodies. It is rich in plant-based antioxidants, and those can be very beneficial when it comes to protecting ourselves. Berries such as the mulberry, who are abundant in nutrients, can help the body protect itself against illnesses like cancer, against aging prematurely or poorly, against inflammation of all kinds, bacterial infections, and even diabetes.
Studies are still being conducted on these berries and their long-term effects on human health, but what is clear – even without any clinical studies – is that people who consume berries on a regular basis are doing better, relatively. Mulberries have the power to help with the digestive system, with blood circulation, with blood pressure, and cardiovascular health. There are even those who suggest that it can help by boosting the immune system, promote healthier vision, and generally lift the person’s levels of energy without compromising anything. Sometimes it is hard to believe that all of this can come from such a small fruit. It is true, though. It is a small berry that packs a punch.
No matter what color berry you are into, you can bet that it is helping out where help is needed. It does not create something out of nothing, though. It simply helps with the body’s already ongoing processes. The body knows what to do, and eating mulberries on a regular basis can help it stay fit and healthy. Mulberry is one of the “detox” berries which people go nuts over, but it really is just helps the body do what the body does naturally.
Mulberries for Eating and Mulberry Allergies
I am not a fan of the term “superfood”, but if there is a food which I would consider to be one, the mulberry – probably berries in general – would be on that list (along with Goji Berries, Brazil Nuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Macadamia Nuts, Almonds and Flaxseed). It can do a lot, and it can be eaten in so many ways. Like with all foods, some people may develop allergic reactions to them. If you know you are sensitive by nature and are predisposed to allergies, or if you already have some food or berry allergy of some kind, it would be best to consult with a doctor before incorporating mulberries into your daily diet. Be cautious. I feel the mulberries would agree with me, when I say that the most important thing is your health.
As far as taste is concerned, the black mulberries are the most popular. Significantly more popular than their white and red counterparts. When you are purchasing mulberries, keep in mind that they can spoil pretty fast. Once you and your berries arrive at your destination, keep them locked in a zip-up bag (or some other kind of air-tight method). Place them, unwashed, in the refrigerator, and they should stay fresh for two or three days, tops.
When you want to eat them, simply take them out of the bag, place them in a bowl or container, and fill the bowl with cold water. Washing them under running water could damage them, and you should avoid that since it may affect the flavor. Mulberries are best enjoyed at room temperature, which is when their flavor and taste are at their peak. Mulberries can be eaten raw, made into jam or syrup, added to salads of all kinds, used to fill baked goods such as cookies and pies, and they can also be used in shakes, smoothies, ice creams, and other frosty treats.
Note: these berries stain like you wouldn’t believe. When you handle them, make sure not to bruise them, squish them, or otherwise damage them. Treat your berries gently, and they will provide you with the kind of culinary delights which only Mother Nature can bring.
There are too many health benefits to mulberries, and too many fun ways to eat mulberries for you not to be incorporating them into your diet. Superfood has become something of an overused term, but in the case of mulberries, the label is quite fitting. Try some today to start enjoying their wondrous benefits!