Mulberries nutrition facts
Refreshingly succulent, tart and sweet mulberries are indeed rich in numerous health benefiting flavonoid phyto-nutrients. Botanically, the berries are obtained from the silkworm tree belonging to the moraceaefamily; of the genus: Morus. Scientific name: Morus nigra. L. In Spanish they are known as moras.
More than hundred species of morus exist. In taxonomy, species generally are identified not by the color of the fruits (berries) but by the color of flower buds and leaves. So, a morus plant can have different colored berries (black, purple, red, white etc) in the same plant.
- The white mulberry (Morus alba) is native to eastern and central China.
- The red or American mulberry (Morus rubra) is native to eastern United States.
- Black mulberry (Morus nigra) is native to western Asia.
Health benefits of mulberries
- Delicious, fleshy, succulent mulberries are low in calories (just 43 cal per 100 g); but are rich source of many health promoting plant derived compounds, 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, aging and neurological diseases, inflammation, diabetes, and bacterial infections
- The berries contain resveratrol, another polyphenol flavonoid antioxidant. Resveratrol has been found to be protective against stroke risk by alteration of molecular mechanisms in blood vessels, reducing susceptibility to vascular damage through decreased activity of angiotensin (a systemic hormone causing blood vessel constriction that would elevate blood pressure) and increased production of the vasodilator hormone, nitric oxide.
- In addition, these berries are an excellent source of vitamin-C (36.4 mcg per 100, about 61% of RDI), which is also a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents, counter inflammation and scavenge harmful free radicals.
- They also contain good amount vitamin A, vitamin E and in addition to the above mentioned antioxidants also contain many other health promoting flavonoid poly phenolic antioxidants such aslutein, zeaxanthin, ß-carotene and α-carotene in small but notably significant amounts. These compounds help act as protect from harmful effects of oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease process.
- Zeaxanthin, an important dietary carotenoid selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions in the retina of eyes.
- Mulberries are excellent source of iron, which is a rare feature among berries, contains 1.85 mg/100 g of fruits (about 23% of RDI). Iron, being a component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells, determines the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.
- They 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 are function as co-factors and help body in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.