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Thursday, December 22, 2011

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 moraceae family; 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.

3 species have been recognized for their economic importance.

•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.

Mulberries are large, deciduous trees native to warm, temperate, and subtropical regions of Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Technically, the mulberry fruit is an aggregation of small fruits arranged longitudinally around the central axis as in blackberry or loganberries. Each fruit measures 2-5 cm long. In most species these berries are purple-red when ripen; however they can be white, red, purple or multiple colors in the same fruit.

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 as lutein, 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.

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:

Mulberry (Morus nigra .L), Fresh, raw,
Nutrition Value per 100 g,
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base) Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 43 Kcal 2%
Carbohydrates 9.80 g 7.5%
Protein 1.44 g 2.5%
Total Fat 0.39 g 2%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 1.7 g 4.5%
Folates 6 mcg 1.5%
Niacin 0.620 mg 4%
Pyridoxine 0.050 mg 4%
Riboflavin 0.101 mg 8%
Vitamin A 25 IU 1%
Vitamin C 36.4 mg 61%
Vitamin E 0.87 mg 6%
Vitamin K 7.8 mcg 6.5%
Sodium 10 mg 0.75%
Potassium 194 mg 4%
Calcium 39 mg 4%
Copper 60 mcg 6.5%
Iron 1.85 mg 23%
Magnesium 18 mg 4.5%
Selenium 0.6 mcg 1%
Zinc 0.12 mg 1%
Carotene--ß 9 mcg --
Carotene, α 12 mcg --
Lutein-zeaxanthin 136 mcg --
Selection and storage
Black mulberries are particularly more flavorful and tasty than their counterpart white and red varieties. The peak season for black mulberry is May through August while the other two varieties are readily available by late spring.

In the stores, look for fleshy berries flavorful and heavy in hands. Avoid bruised, bleeding and sunken berries.

Once at home, preserve them in the zip pouch unwashed inside refrigerator where they stay fresh for up to a week. Mulberries spoil rather quickly. To eat, wash the berries in cold water in a container (bowl) instead of in running water. This way you avoid injuring. This method also brings the berries to room temperature and enhances their flavor and taste.

Preparation and serving methods
After washing them to remove sand and soil, gently pat them dry using soft cloth. Take care not to squeeze or press the berries or the will stain cloth, hand, etc. Then trim away stem ends by simply pinching off with fingers or using a small scissors or paring knife.

The berries have found their unique place in the kitchen, be it a simple mulberry pie or somewhat more complicated mulberry wine, they are favored in variety of mulberry recipes.

Here are some serving tips:

•Fresh mulberry are generally eaten as they are without any additions.

•They mix well with other berry salads.

•They can be a great snack between meals.

•Mulberries are favored in jams, jellies, tart syrups etc.

•Dried mulberries can be used in pie fillings, mulberry muffins, cookies, cakes etc.

•They are used in ice-creams, smoothies and yogurt as in strawberries, raspberries etc.


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