Mulberries, a delicious, sweet treat from nature. Yes! Another guilt free snack, that’s good for us! Similar in appearance to blackberries, mulberries have traditionally been grown in China, India, Japan, Korea and Brazil to feed silk worms.
This article was written by Becca Mack
Traditional oriental practitioners have used the root bark of the mulberry tree as an anti-inflammatory as well as a diuretic, while the fruit has been used as sedatives and tonics.
But, could this humble plant be a botanical hero? Mulberries are little powerhouses and are available in red, purple, black and white. They are a good source of vitamin C, B group vitamins, vitamin K and Iron, yes, Iron something we don’t usually expect from a berry. Mulberries are also a great source of protein and fibre, about 1/3 of a cup will give you 20% of your daily fibre needs.
It is the white mulberry, however that is showing some hope for managing some serious health issues. It’s not just the fruit, although the berries are a good source of antioxidants, white mulberries contain resveratrol and phenols, which fight the damage caused by free radicals. Dried white mulberries are low in saturated fat, yet manage to keep a sweet raisin like taste, with less sugar, than most dried fruits, making for great afternoon snacks. But, it is the leaves of the white mulberries that scientists are looking at.
The white mulberry leaves contain a compound, 1-deoxynojirimycin (DNJ) it seems that this compound inhibits the absorption of sugar in the digestion process, causing it to be excreted instead of been absorbed into the bloodstream. Some studies suggest DNJ helps reduce spikes in blood sugar. What does this mean for diabetes sufferers and those with pre diabetes? Studies and trials continue, researchers are looking at white mulberry leaf extract and while the dose required to make a real difference is still yet to be determined it is something worth paying attention to. Dried leaf tea and other products are currently available to enjoy with meals, although, potency can vary along with price, so shop around if you are considering giving it a try. Most products are available through health food stores, but consider talking with your doctor or healthcare provider first.
Dried white mulberries are a great snack to enjoy and can be easily packed into snap lock bags for eating on the go. They are chewy, sweet and great for afternoon cravings. Combine with slivered almonds or try adding some pistachios and sunflower seeds for texture.