Mulberries, known locally as moras, amoras, or amingit, are a rising star in Philippine agriculture. After conducting a three-year trial, a Japanese company found that the mulberry plant can be successfully cultivated in the country, making its leaves in particular a promising source of income for local farmers.
The mulberry leaf is used to make tea, the main reason behind the three-year trial. But the actual berries also have many uses. Some even consider mulberries a superfood due to their nutritional content and potential health benefits.
Mulberries typically grow in temperate and tropical regions, and come in white, black, or red. The berries look similar to blackberries and are sweet and tart. They have long been used in traditional medicine to treat everything from ringworm to arthritis.
Here’s why you should consider adding mulberries to your diet:
They contain a good amount of protein. At 4 grams of protein in every 1/3 cup, mulberries contain more protein than other berries and, in fact, many other fruits.
…as well as other nutrients. Mulberries also offer up vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, iron, calcium, and fiber.
They have less sugar than other berries. If you’re craving something sweet but are worried about consuming too much sugar, mulberries are a good option. Dried mulberries have less half the sugar in fellow dried fruit like raisins, figs, mangoes, and cranberries. (Note that a lot of dried fruits seem healthy but contain a whopping 30 to 40 grams of sugar a serving!) All this while still having that burst of sweetness that your palate may be looking for.
They’re loaded with antioxidants. Mulberries have plenty of anthocyanins, which are the antioxidants responsible for giving it is its rich color. Antioxidants help fight off cell-damaging, chronic disease-causing free radicals.
They can help keep your heart healthy. Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death, and thus many studies are being done to find which foods have a positive effect on heart health.
A number of animal studies have been done, linking mulberries to improved cardiovascular health. One study done on rats found that those supplemented with mulberry fruit powder had decreased levels of bad cholesterol. Another study using white rabbits and mulberry extract found similar results. A small-scale study on humans suggests that freeze-dried mulberry can likewise lower cholesterol. More studies need to be done for more definitive results, but it shouldn’t hurt to add mulberries to your diet. Just make sure you consult your doctor if you have an existing heart condition.
They may be good for those with diabetes. Those with diabetes need to manage their sugar intake as it may cause a spike in their blood sugar. Aside from containing fiber, which allows for the slower absorption of sugar, mulberries were also found to lower blood sugar levels in diabetic mice and rats.
They may reduce the risk of cancer. Those heart-healthy antioxidants are also good for you in other ways. A 2006 animal study found that antioxidants in mulberry juice could fight off free radicals that may cause cancer, while a 2017 study found that a compound in mulberries helped kill off or slow the growth of cancer cells in mice.
An Addition to Your Diet
Mulberries grow very quickly; thus, some farmers have found that offering mulberry-picking activities to visitors—much like strawberry-picking in the Benguet province—can provide an added stream of income.
Mulberries go bad nearly as quickly as they grow, only keeping for a couple of days, so they can be dried or turned into jam to extend their shelf life. You can make the most out of your stash of mulberries by adding them to your smoothies or granola, or even making sauces. Ready to give this fruit a try? You can find mulberry fruits, tea and jam at select Healthy Options stores.
While mulberries have a number of health benefits, they should be consumed only as a part of a holistic, balanced diet filled with nutrient-rich whole foods. There is no single food that can turn your health around or give you all the nutrients that your body needs. So make sure you eat a mix of fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean proteins for optimum health.