Rich in vitamin C, iron, vitamin K, potassium and vitamin E, mulberries (Morus alba) have immense nutritional value and are low in calories (60 calories per cup). They are closely related to figs and breadfruit. Loaded with plant antioxidants anthocyanins, they help regulate cholesterol levels and protect from heart disease.[1,2,3]
Mulberries are also useful in preventing several chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Diabetics need to be cautious while eating carbs as they increase blood sugar levels after meals. DNJ (1-Deoxynojirimycin), a compound in mulberries, stops an enzyme in the gut that helps in the breakdown of carbohydrates. This decreases the blood sugar levels post meals.[5,6,7]
Mulberries For High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is an important fatty molecule essential for for the manufacture of hormones in the body. Cholesterol is also required for the proper functioning of the intestines and maintaining the integrity of the intestinal wall. However, elevated cholesterol levels in the blood can cause deposition of fats in the arteries (atherosclerosis), which could result in heart disease.
Animal studies show that mulberries can reduce excess fat and lower cholesterol levels. Mulberries can also improve LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol ratio.[1,8]
Lab experiments have found that mulberries reduce fat formation in the liver, preventing the potential risk of fatty liver disease.[9,10,11,12]
How To Have Them
- Eat five to seven fresh mulberries after a heavy meal to lower cholesterol levels.
- They also make an excellent snack to have in-between meals.
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1. Liu LK, Lee HJ, Shih YW, Chyau CC, Wang CJ. Mulberry anthocyanin extracts inhibit LDL oxidation and macrophage-derived foam cell formation induced by oxidative LDL. J Food Sci. 2008 Aug;73(6):H113-21. PubMed PMID: 19241587.
2. Q. Du, J. Zheng, Y. Xu. Composition of anthocyanins in mulberry and their antioxidant activity. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, Volume 21, Issue 5, August 2008, Pages 390-395.
3. Chang-Che Chen, Li-Kaung Liu, Jeng-Dong Hsu, Hui-Pei Huang, Mon-Yuan Yang, Chau-Jong Wang. Mulberry extract inhibits the development of atherosclerosis in cholesterol-fed rabbits. Food Chemistry, Volume 91, Issue 4, August 2005, Pages 601-607.
4. Huang HP, Ou TT, Wang CJ. Mulberry ( sang shèn zǐ) and its bioactive compounds, the chemoprevention effects and molecular mechanisms in vitro and in vivo. J Tradit Complement Med. 2013 Jan;3(1):7-15. doi: 10.4103/2225-4110.106535. Review. PubMed PMID: 24716151; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3924983.
5. Asano N, Yamashita T, Yasuda K, Ikeda K, Kizu H, Kameda Y, Kato A, Nash RJ, Lee HS, Ryu KS. Polyhydroxylated alkaloids isolated from mulberry trees (Morusalba L.) and silkworms (Bombyx mori L.). J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Sep;49(9):4208-13. PubMed PMID: 11559112.
6. Wang Y, Xiang L, Wang C, Tang C, He X. Antidiabetic and antioxidant effects and phytochemicals of mulberry fruit (Morus alba L.) polyphenol enhanced extract. PLoS One. 2013 Jul 30;8(7):e71144. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0071144. Print 2013. PubMed PMID: 23936259; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3728024.
7. Wang S, Fang M, Ma YL, Zhang YQ. Preparation of the Branch Bark Ethanol Extract in Mulberry Morus alba, Its Antioxidation, and Antihyperglycemic Activity In Vivo. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:569652. doi: 10.1155/2014/569652. Epub 2014 Jan 22. PubMed PMID: 24587809; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3920605.
8. Peng CH, Liu LK, Chuang CM, Chyau CC, Huang CN, Wang CJ. Mulberry water extracts possess an anti-obesity effect and ability to inhibit hepatic lipogenesis and promote lipolysis. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Mar 23;59(6):2663-71. doi: 10.1021/jf1043508. Epub 2011 Mar 1. PubMed PMID: 21361295.
9. Ou TT, Hsu MJ, Chan KC, Huang CN, Ho HH, Wang CJ. Mulberry extract inhibits oleic acid-induced lipid accumulation via reduction of lipogenesis and promotion of hepatic lipid clearance. J Sci Food Agric. 2011 Dec;91(15):2740-8. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.4489. Epub 2011 Oct 17. PubMed PMID: 22002411.
10. Chang JJ, Hsu MJ, Huang HP, Chung DJ, Chang YC, Wang CJ. Mulberry anthocyanins inhibit oleic acid induced lipid accumulation by reduction of lipogenesis and promotion of hepatic lipid clearance. J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Jun 26;61(25):6069-76. doi: 10.1021/jf401171k. Epub 2013 Jun 17. PubMed PMID: 23731091.
11. Wu CH, Lin MC, Wang HC, Yang MY, Jou MJ, Wang CJ. Rutin inhibits oleic acid induced lipid accumulation via reducing lipogenesis and oxidative stress in hepatocarcinoma cells. J Food Sci. 2011 Mar;76(2):T65-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.02033.x. PubMed PMID: 21535797.
12. Liu LK, Chou FP, Chen YC, Chyau CC, Ho HH, Wang CJ. Effects of mulberry (Morus alba L.) extracts on lipid homeostasis in vitro and in vivo. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Aug 26;57(16):7605-11. doi: 10.1021/jf9014697. PubMed PMID: 19630385.