Let's Go Round The Mulberry Bush!
This week we were lucky enough to have one of the best gifts ever delivered to the office! It was from Neals Yard
and we have called it our porridge bar as it contains all sorts of gorgeous little superfoods for us to stir and sprinkle into our porridge in the morning - everything from hemp powder to bee pollen to goji berries to maca powder and Rhodiola (a new one for us). Among the beautiful little jars was also a jar of dried mulberries. I had rather forgotten about mulberries but tucking into the jar I remembered how much I absolutely love them!
Like goji berries, pomegranates and acai berries, mulberries are big players in the superfood stakes and for very good reason too. Widely used in Chinese medicine, the leaves of the mulberry bush are thought to have as many benefits as the fruits themselves. Here are a list of the many benefits of this delicious little native Asian berry.
1. Packed with Vitamins C, A and E
- Vitamin C as we all know is a vital component for a healthy immune system - vitamins A and E also play a key role. With such a high quantity of all three vitamins in both the whole and dried fruits, mulberries become a powerful antioxidant and a key player in reducing inflammation and fighting harmful free radicals in the body. Hello antioxidant.
2. Anti cancerous
- Containing a large amount of anthocyanins (a phenolic flavonoid phytochemical)
and also Resveratrol,
mulberries are known to have a positive effect on cancer cells (namely pancreatic cancer cells). Along with their antioxidant properties they can be quite powerful.
3. Helps to lower cholesterol
- scientists in Japan have discovered that regularly drinking mulberry leaf tea can help to flush out the build up of high cholesterol plaque in the arteries by slowing the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol. Although not a cure, it certainly goes a long way in helping to get cholesterol levels back on track.
4. Blood sugar balancing
- containing a much lower sugar quantity than most other dried fruits, mulberries are fantastic for balancing blood sugar levels. Not only that, but the powdered leaf form, or mulberry leaf extract, is thought to slow down the digestion of sugars in the gut due to the presence of deoxynojirimycin (DNJ) - t
hus meaning less of those rapid sugar highs and lows. This can be hugely beneficial to those with diabetes
and is widely used in Chinese medicine to prevent the onset of diabetes.
5. High in protein
- to put it into context, a banana contains around 4% protein, brown rice around 10% and oranges around 6% - mulberries however contain around 11% protein. That is huge for a little berry and means that they are the perfect snack for all you gym bunnies out there. They also contain a pretty substantial amount of iron.
How to enjoy mulberries:
The leaf - just make the tea as you would a normal cup. Steep the leaves for 2-3 minutes in boiling water and sip away. If you have access to a mulberry tree, you can pick the leaves and either enjoy them in your tea fresh, or dry them to enjoy at another time.
The dried fruit - available in most health food stores they make the best snack just as they are. Just have a little handful and you will dampen any sugar cravings. You can also get them dusted in raw cacao which is seriously delicious too. I love sprinkling them over porridge or adding them into raw hemp bars or my Sticky Seed Flapjacks.
The whole fruit - it is quite rare to come across whole, un-dried mulberries in the UK. If you do, treat them very much as you would a blackberry - they are usually a similar colour and are delicious in ice creams, crumbles and cakes.