Properties and Benefits of Mulberries: The mulberry tree is one that has been long forgotten. If you speak to the younger generations about mulberries, they probably have never even heard of them. The mulberry tree has a very long life span, ranging from 500 to 1000 years. Imagine the benefits mulberry fruits have for our health and general well-being, considering the fact that they come from an ‘immortal’ tree.
There are three major types of mulberry tree: Morus nigra, usually referred to as the black mulberry tree, Morus rubra, also known as the red mulberry tree and Morus alba, or the white mulberry tree. Consumption of fruit on a regular basis contributes to better energy levels as a result of their generous B vitamins content and helps fight anemia thanks to their high iron content. Other nutrients in mulberries have strong antioxidant and anti-aging properties.
The black mulberry tree (Morus nigra) produces significantly more fruits compared to the other two species of mulberry. Its fruits are very sweet and juicy and once you have tasted them, you might consider choosing black mulberries over strawberries and other berries. I know I do. When ripe, white mulberries can turn partly pink. Nevertheless, they are succulent and somewhat sweet.
On average, mulberry fruits are 2-5 cm long. They are rich in vitamins and minerals and their pinkish-dark red pigmentation suggests they contain high levels of flavonoids called anthocyanins. There are studies that suggest that eating these dark-red mulberry fruits can protect against diabetes, bacterial infections, neurological diseases and even some forms of cancer. In addition to this, red and black mulberries are said to reduce inflammation and slow the aging process.
Mulberries contain resveratrol, a natural antioxidant, anti-mutagen and anti-inflammatory that can also be found in red wine. Resveratrol (a polyphenol flavonoid) is said to prevent strokes by modifying the molecular mechanisms within the blood vessels. It reduces vascular damage by lowering the angiotensin hormone which is responsible for vasoconstriction and high blood pressure and increasing the levels of nitric oxide, which is a vasodilator hormone.
Mulberries are especially rich in vitamin C, as you can see in the table above. You should keep in mind that by eating foods that are rich in vitamin C, your body will be better equipped to fight off infections; moreover, it will be more efficient in reducing inflammation and better prepared to fight against free radicals.
These fruit also contain vitamin A and vitamin E. Mulberries are also a good source of vitamin B6, niacin, riboflavin and folic acid, which help the body metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats and they contain vitamin K, which can be found all over in the plant world.
Last, but not least, mulberries are a good source of minerals such as potassium, magnesium, iron and copper. Potassium, for instance, is an electrolyte which helps keep the cells of the body hydrated and lowers high blood pressure due to high sodium intake. Mulberries, these wonderfully juicy and sweet fruits, can be found from May till mid August.
Though they are scarce in markets, they can easily be found in nature, in people’s yards, even parks. They are easy to recognize: delicious looking, tender, small fruits ranging from white-pink to dark-red, hanging lightly from the branches of a mighty, centennial tree. They’ll certainly make your taste buds long for more.
Mulberries also contain small quantities of lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, which play a crucial role in the fight against the infamous free radicals, not to mention they are rich in iron, which I believe may be good news for those of you struggling with some form of anemia, but who have a bit of a sweet tooth.
And here’s something you might find interesting: did you know that there are mulberry trees that never produce any fruit? Though rare, they exist and are the male counterpart of the fecund ‘female’ mulberry trees.