8 Top Benefits Of Mulberries & How To Eat

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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The health benefits of mulberries include their ability to improve digestion, lower cholesterol, aid in weight loss, increase circulation, build bone tissues, and boost the immune system. It also helps slow down the aging process, lower blood pressure, protect eyes, and improve the overall metabolism of the body. Mulberries may also have anti-cancer benefits.

What are Mulberries?

Mulberries are the sweet, hanging fruits from a genus of deciduous trees that grow in a variety of temperate areas around the world. Thought to possibly have originated in China, they have spread throughout the world and are highly praised for their unique flavor and impressive composition of nutrients. Most varieties found in different parts of the world are considered to be “native” from those areas, as they are widespread. The scientific name of mulberry varies depending on which species you are looking at, the most common types are Morus alba (white mulberry), Morus australis (Chinese mulberry), Morus rubra (red berry), and Morus nigra (blackberry), but there are other delicious varieties as well. In terms of appearance, the berries grow very fast when they are young but gradually slow as their color changes from white or green to pink or red, and eventually settling on dark purple or even black.

Are Mulberries Edible?

Mulberries are best eaten fresh, plucked from the plant. Make sure you don’t eat the greenish berries as they are still raw – they have a laxative effect. If you want to store mulberries, you can refrigerate them for a couple of days. Place them on a plate covered with a paper towel. It is best to wash them just before you eat them to avoid spoilage.

The sweet or tart flavor makes these berries ideal for sherbets, jams, jellies, fruit tarts, pies, wines, teas, and cordials. In certain areas of the world, the flavors of the mulberry varieties differ, but the American mulberry and the black mulberry are considered to have the most powerful flavor and are widely sought after. Interestingly, the mulberry tree has another important resource, besides providing people with delicious berries and that is its leaves. The mulberry leaves are also the only known food source for silkworms.

Fresh mulberries with mulberry leaves

Fresh mulberries have a sweet and tart flavor. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition Facts

Mulberries, raw
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]87.68
Energy [kcal]43
Energy [kJ]180
Protein [g]1.44
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.39
Ash [g]0.69
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]9.8
Fiber, total dietary [g]1.7
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]8.1
Calcium, Ca [mg]39
Iron, Fe [mg]1.85
Magnesium, Mg [mg]18
Phosphorus, P [mg]38
Potassium, K [mg]194
Sodium, Na [mg]10
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.12
Copper, Cu [mg]0.06
Selenium, Se [µg]0.6
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]36.4
Thiamin [mg]0.03
Riboflavin [mg]0.1
Niacin [mg]0.62
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.05
Folate, total [µg]6
Folate, food [µg]6
Folate, DFE [µg]6
Choline, total [mg]12.3
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]1
Carotene, beta [µg]9
Carotene, alpha [µg]12
Vitamin A, IU [IU]25
Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]136
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.87
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]7.8
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.03
16:0 [g]0.01
18:0 [g]0.02
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.04
18:1 [g]0.04
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.21
18:2 [g]0.21
18:3 [g]0
Sources include : USDA

Nutritional Value

Mulberries are filled with nutrients that are important for our body, including iron, riboflavin, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. They also contain a significant amount of dietary fiber and a wide range of organic compounds, including phytonutrients, zeaxanthin, resveratrol, anthocyanins, lutein, and various polyphenolic compounds. According to the USDA, a cup of raw mulberries have 60 calories, 14 grams of carbohydrates, and 2 grams of protein. It is also high in water content (over 70 percent).

Health Benefits

Let’s explore what is packed inside these berries that make them so important.

Aid in Digestion

Like the majority of fruits and vegetables, mulberries contain dietary fiber, which makes approximately 10% of your daily requirements in a single serving. Dietary fiber can help to improve digestion by bulking up the stool, thereby speeding up the movement of food through the digestive tract, while also reducing occurrences of constipation, bloating, and cramping. Furthermore, fiber helps to regulate cholesterol levels and can improve heart health when regularly added to the diet.

Increase Circulation

The high levels of iron content in mulberries can significantly boost the production of red blood cells. This means that the body will increase its distribution of oxygen to important tissues and organs, thereby helping to boost metabolism and optimize the functionality of those systems.

Regulate Blood Pressure

Resveratrol is a very important flavonoid that directly affects the functioning of certain mechanisms in blood vessels, primarily making them less prone to damage by angiotensin, which can cause blood vessel constriction. Resveratrol increases the production of nitric oxide, which is a vasodilator. This means that it relaxes blood vessels and reduces the chances of blood clot formation and subsequent heart issues like strokes or heart attacks. Resveratrol is found in many dark-skinned berries like mulberries, including most grapes, which is why this beneficial antioxidant is also found in wines.

Anti-cancer Potential

Between the high content of anthocyanins, vitamin C, vitamin A, and various other polyphenolic and phytonutrient compounds, mulberries are also packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants are the main line of defense against free radicals, which form a dangerous by-product of cellular metabolism and can damage healthy cells, causing them to mutate into cancerous ones. A study conducted by Huang HP et al. suggested that mulberry anthocyanin extract can slow down melanoma metastasis.

Improve Vision

One of the carotenoids found in mulberries is zeaxanthin, which has been connected directly to a reduction in oxidative stress on certain ocular cells, including the retinal macula lutea. Furthermore, zeaxanthin functions as an antioxidant and prevents certain damage to the retina, including the free radicals that can cause macular degeneration and cataracts. In traditional Chinese medicine, mulberry tea is often prescribed to improve eyesight.

Anti-inflammatory

Research shows that mulberry leaves have anti-inflammatory properties, which can cut off the body’s inflammatory response to chronic diseases. The study also shows that mulberry leaf tea can be used to reduce inflammatory pain.

Boost Immunity

Vitamin C is a powerful defensive weapon against any illness or foreign pathogens in the body that antioxidants don’t take care of. A single serving of mulberries is almost the entire requirement of vitamin C for the day, but combine that with the minerals and vitamins present in this fruit, and you have a true weapon against illness. Try adding mulberries to your smoothies and salads to raise your immunity levels.

Build Healthy Bones

Vitamin K, calcium, and iron, as well as the trace amounts of phosphorus and magnesium found in mulberries, can all be beneficial for the creation and maintenance of bone tissue. As we get older, maintaining strong bones, speeding up the healing process, or even reversing the damage of bone degradation is important to prevent conditions like osteoporosis or other age-related bone disorders.

Reduce Bad Cholesterol

Regular intake of mulberry leaf powder and mulberry leaf tea can significantly reduce triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. This results in the prevention of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.

Prevent Premature Aging

Mulberries also boast a high level of vitamin A and vitamin E, along with a range of carotenoid components like lutein, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and alpha-carotene. All of these elements act as antioxidants that specifically affect the skin, tissue, hair, and other areas of the body where free radicals strike. Mulberries can aid in skincare, reduce the appearance of blemishes and age spots, and keep hair shiny and healthy by preventing the oxidative actions of free radicals.

How To Eat Mulberries?

These berries are delicious as a snack but if you want to enjoy it in different ways, here are our suggestions:

  • Smoothies: Make a simple mulberry smoothie with berries, yogurt, honey, and vanilla powder/essence.
  • Mulberry juice: This antioxidant-rich juice can be downed in no time. You can freeze them for juices and smoothies.
  • Baked tarts: Bake mulberries into a pie or a crumble.
  • Breakfast & salads: Serve it with pancakes and whipped cream, or add it to granola, porridge, or salads.
  • Jam: You can make a simple jam with sugar and lemon juice.

Word of Caution: Mulberries are very good at lowering blood sugar levels, which is beneficial for particular people, but also very dangerous for others. Also, there are rare cases of allergies to the mulberry, so use them in moderation and monitor your body’s reaction if you are eating them for the first time.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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