Food EducationHealth

10 Surprising Health Benefits of Mulberries

The first time I tried a dried white mulberry, my tastebuds (literally) exploded. It had hints of caramel with a slight nutty flavour, and the texture was perfect. I became addicted ever since, and thankfully for me, the health benefits of mulberries were far beyond anything I had ever imagined.

Mulberries are related to figs and breadfruit (not surprised – figs are another one of my favourite fruit!) and in Chinese herbal medicine, have been used to help treat diseases like heart disease, diabetes, anemia and arthritis.

My favourite type of mulberry is the white mulberry, but the black and red varieties are pretty amazing, too!

I like to buy my dried mulberries online, or at Costco (they sometimes have really large 1lb. organic bags of dried white mulberries for just $16 CAD!). You can also usually find them in health food stores, but I would call around and ask first.

So what can mulberries do for you? Find out below!

1. Protect The Heart

Mulberries contain resveratrol, a polyphenol flavonoid antioxidant that protects against stroke risk by preventing blood vessel damage. They are also high in vitamin K1, which is important for blood clotting (and bone health!), and potassium, which helps lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease.

2. Help Prevent Diabetes

Mulberry leaves have exhibited hypoglycaemic and hypolipidemic effects in patients with type 2 diabetes. Mulberries also contain a lower glycemic index and lower sugar rating than the same serving of raisins, so it makes a great alternative snack for those watching blood sugar levels.

3. Regulate Cholesterol

White mulberry leaf extract also suppresses the progression of atherosclerosis (the build-up of cholesterol-rich plaque in the arteries). It inhibits the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol), which, under normal circumstances, is the main cause for development of atherosclerotic plaques.

4. Aid Digestion

Mulberries are a great digestive aid. Their high fibre content helps sweep the intestinal tract clean and clear. Need I say more?

5. Prevent Cancer

Mulberries are rich in anthocyanins, cyanidin, chlorogenic acid, rutin and myricetin. What does this mean? It means they are packed with antioxidants that defend against free radicals, and prevent cell mutation that would normally turn into cancerous cells.

6. Brain Health

Mulberries are a natural cognitive enhancer and protect our neurons. They help protect against brain damage and improve memory in individuals with vascular dementia induced by cerebral ischemia.

7. Improve Eye Health

Carotenoids are essential for good eye health, and mulberries contain one of the best carotenoids out there – zeaxanthin! This carotenoid has been connected directly to a reduction in oxidative stress on ocular cells like retina macula lutea. By helping prevent damage to the retina, mulberries help reduce the chance of macular degeneration and cataracts.

8. Promote Hair Growth

The rich iron content in mulberries is one way to help promote hair growth. Iron helps our body’s cells carry oxygen around the body, including the hair follicles. If you are lacking iron, then your hair is likely to fall out, as is the case with most people suffering from anemia.

9. Build Bone Tissue

Mulberries are a great source of vitamin K1, which is essential for proper bone health. They are also good sources of calcium and iron, as well as trace amounts of phosphorous and magnesium, all of which help in the creation and maintenance of bone tissue and prevent against osteoporosis.

10. Calm The Nerves

These tasty little berries can also be calming to the nervous system because they contain the amino acid l-theanine. L-theanine helps reduce stress, and improves energy levels.

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