Health Benefits of Mulberries

The mere mention of mulberries makes most people think of the classic nursery rhyme about the mulberry bush, the monkey, and the weasel. 

While there’s a lot to love about this song, mulberries are more than the site of a monkey chase. They’re a wild berry with a wonderfully sweet flavor and are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. 

Easy to prepare and eat, mulberries can be used in place of or alongside most other berries. They are also wonderful as a snack and sweet enough to replace treats that are typically loaded with added sugars. 

Health Benefits

The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in mulberries provide a variety of powerful health benefits. For example, the flavonoids in mulberries fight free radicals to limit oxidative stress. This is important, because oxidative stress can have a negative impact on several facets of physical, cognitive, and even emotional health.

Mulberries are also rich in phenolic acids, which can play a role in everything from cancer prevention to diabetes management. 

In addition to promoting a higher intake of polyphenols such as flavonoids and phenolic acids, mulberries offer a variety of other benefits. These include the following:

Heart Health

Research suggests that a diet rich in mulberries may limit cholesterol, including both total and LDL “bad” cholesterol. This, in turn, may reduce the potential for atherosclerosis, in which an unhealthy amount of plaque builds up on artery walls.

Cognitive Health

Mulberries contain high levels of flavonoids. These compounds may hold major benefits for long-term brain health, including a reduced likelihood of experiencing cognitive decline, which can lead to a number of cognitive diseases and disorders. 

Eye Health

The flavonoids in mulberries could be helpful for preventing a variety of age-related eye conditions that develop over the course of several decades. Likewise, the vitamin C in mulberries may reduce the risk of experiencing cataracts.

Nutrition

Mulberries are rich in vitamin C, with one cup delivering 51 milligrams. A diet rich in vitamin C can limit the risk of developing several types of cancer. Additionally, vitamin C plays an important role in developing collagen, which provides structure for many parts of your body including skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones. Sufficient intake of vitamin C is critical for bone health.

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Mulberries are also a good source of:

Nutrients per Serving

A half-cup serving of mulberries contains:

Portion Sizes

While mulberries offer a variety of health benefits, they’re high in sugar compared to some other types of berries. Blackberries, for example, contain just half of the sugar found in a single serving of mulberries. 

This isn’t necessarily a problem, because the sugar in mulberries is usually natural. In fact, these berries are sweet enough to limit the amount of sugar added for some recipes. Still, if you’re looking to control blood-glucose levels, you should keep an eye on the sugar and eat mulberries in moderation. 

Things to Watch Out For

Dark-colored mulberries can also stain teeth if eaten in excess. Their acidity can make them hard on enamel, especially when consumed in smoothies. 

How to Prepare Mulberries

Mulberries tend to be more difficult to find in stores than other types of berries. They are sometimes sold at health food stores or co-ops. Many local growers sell them at farmer’s markets. 

Although sometimes tricky to purchase, mulberries are easy to grow and harvest. Some people place sheets or other materials around mulberry trees to catch the berries as they drop. This makes them quick to collect.

While they’re often eaten raw, mulberries can also be used to make jams, preserves, pies, and a variety of other delicious treats. They can be stored for two or three days in the refrigerator if covered in plastic wrap. Otherwise, they should keep in the freezer for several months.

Try mulberries in these recipes:

  • Add a handful of mulberries to a bowl of cold cereal or oatmeal.
  • Blend mulberries in a smoothie with other types of berries, as well as bananas, yogurt, and milk or a milk alternative.
  • Create a parfait with mulberries, granola, and yogurt. 
  • Sprinkle mulberries into a spinach salad.
  • Crush mulberries and mix into pancake batter.
  • Blend mulberries with water and yogurt to create a chilled fruit soup.
  • Use mulberries as a healthy topping for vanilla ice cream.
  • Replace blueberries with mulberries in muffins.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 10, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Agro Food Industry Hi-Tech: “Flavonoids in Mulberry Fruit. Identification of Nonanthocyanin Phenolics in Some Mulberry Fruit Species (Morus Alba L., Morus Rubra L. and Morus Nigra L.).”

Antioxidants: “Effects of Mulberry Fruit (Morus alba L.) Consumption on Health Outcomes—A Mini-Review.”

Clinical Interventions in Aging: “Nutrients for the aging eye.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Mulberries.”

Journal of Nutrition in Gerontology and Geriatrics: “Flavonoid Intake and Eye Health.”

Mayo Clinic: “Improve Brain Health with the MIND Diet.”

USDA: “Mulberries, Raw.”

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