Mulberries are popularly known as an ancient Turkish super fruit, but the Morus genus of trees upon which the mulberries can be found flourish in many parts of the world nowadays. Mulberries did originate in the Far East and people traveling along the Silk Road from China to Turkey carried them. Over the last few years, mulberries have been growing in popularity as a power food and for savvy individuals who are in the know these delicious berries are integral to any smart anti – aging diet.
Mulberries are a fairly new food to me, as I only started eating them about three years ago. I had always been curious about them and their unique flavor; you can imagine how thrilled I was to see organic dried mulberries on the shelf of one of my favorite stores and to finally be able to try them! They taste somewhat like a date, with a subtle hint of vanilla flavoring. They have a chewy texture and are gratifying and addictive. On taste alone, these have become my favorite fruit. I like eating them by the handful, but they can also be mixed into smoothies, granola, trail mixes, shakes and deserts of all kinds, including pies.
Mulberries have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. This sensational berry has been used effectively to treat fevers, strengthen joints and lower blood pressure. Mulberries have also been used as a remedy for insomnia, ringworm and tapeworm. The fact that mulberries have been used for such a long time to treat a wide variety of ailments is impressive, but I find them to be most beneficial as a perfect longevity food.
For starters, mulberries have a significant amount of a very potent type of antioxidant, called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are very adept at ridding the body of free radicals that when left alone would damage cells and DNA. A 2008 study concluded that anthycyanins are able to help prevent cancer because of a number of various actions including their robust free radical scavenging abilities, inflammation reduction and stimulation of phase II detoxifying enzymes. These integral enzymes are the glutathione – related enzymes. They are glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione S-transferase. Glutathione is the most potent and important antioxidant that is produced in the body. For a number of reasons, including stress, pollution, poor diet, etc., glutathione can unfortunately be in short supply in our bodies. It is imperative that we do everything we can to make sure our bodies are able to produce as much of this valuable substance as possible. Anthocyanins also have the ability to modulate the expression and activation of numerous genes that are associated with a number of important cellular functions. Another way of saying this is that epigenetically, anthocyanins are able to flip the right genetic switches in our DNA so that we can either prevent or fight cancer very effectively. We definitely want these powerful antioxidants on our side so be sure to consume plenty of mulberries and other high anthocyanin containing foods, your genes will thank you.
One of the greatest attributes of the mulberry and one of the main reasons why it is so important to us, is it’s high concentration of resveratrol. Resveratrol is an antioxidant currently being studied for its effects on heart health. Resveratrol is also well known as an anti – aging antioxidant. A recent study has shown that this phytonutrient works its magic by “turning on” the SIRT1 gene. The SIRT1 gene, one of a family of genes, the Sirtuins, is known to control the hearty function and longevity of cells. This substance actually speeds up the cell’s energy center, the mitochondria, virtually blocking diseases from being able to gain any kind of foothold in our bodies.
The main reason why red wine consumption has been on the rise in recent years is because of its resveratrol content. Because not everyone likes to drink wine, mulberries are a wonderful alternative source of resveratrol. So, since we are now aware of the dynamic resveratrol content of mulberries, we have another viable food source from which we can obtain this highly sought after phytonutrient. Thanks in large part to the high level of the potent antioxidant resveratrol, mulberries are an excellent power food for fighting cellular damage caused by free radicals. Recent studies have shown that eating mulberries on a consistent and ongoing basis provides enough resveratrol to help promote a healthy cardiovascular system, boost immune function and even help us to increase our longevity.
Another great reason to eat mulberries by the handful is it’s high amount of vitamin C. As we know, vitamin C is an antioxidant that is in high demand by our bodies, helping to keep our immune system strong. This water – soluble antioxidant works synergistically with vitamin E and keeping a steady amount of vitamin C in the bloodstream helps to raise intracellular glutathione levels. As you may know, glutathione is our master endogenous antioxidant and without it we would not be able to defend our bodies against the daily onslaught of free – radicals, pollution, and the everyday stress of living in our modern world.
One more special component of the mulberry is the impressive protein content. In fact, it is quite rare for fruits to have protein, but mulberries have 3 grams of protein per 1 ounce serving. This makes them the perfect pre and post workout snack. Also, the unique protein profile of mulberries makes them a no brainer if you’re looking to increase your overall protein intake, or if you happen to be a vegetarian or vegan who wants to add a new plant based protein source to your diet. I always have a bag on hand and do find myself snacking on them after a strenuous workout.
If you live in a warm climate, you are likely lucky enough to have access to fresh mulberries picked straight from the tree. If so, that is great as the fresher they are, the more nutritious they are. If you don’t have access to fresh mulberries, then the raw, white organic ones obtained from the health food store will work great. However you get them, and however you like to eat them it makes no matter, as long as you start including this amazing power food in your daily diet right away.
About the Author
Troy Pratt is a lifelong natural health enthusiast. After being inspired by his grandfather at the age of 12, he has gone on to study natural health and anti aging for over 3 decades. He is passionate about helping others to achieve great health and fight aging. Please visit him at http://www.antiaginghero.com.