The health benefits of mulberries
The latest superfood is a small, humble fruit: the mulberry. Mulberries come in several varieties and grow on trees, producing a slightly tart, juicy fruit that can be enjoyed raw or in juices or baked dishes. So what makes the mulberry so mighty? A combination of nutrients that have the power to potentially improve circulation, and strengthen the body’s resistance to disease, include heart failure and cancer.
Anthocyanins and Anti-Angiogenesis
Anthocyanins are naturally occurring colorants found in many brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanins are a form of antioxidant that helps protect the body from cancer creating cells. A 2006 study found that the presence of anthocyanins in fruits like mulberries “could decrease the in vitro invasiveness of cancer cells and therefore, may be of great value in developing a potential cancer therapy.”
Mulberries are also one of several foods found to have “anti-angiogenesis” properties. Angiogenesis is a normally occurring process in the healthy body and is responsible for the creation of new blood vessels. This process can be taken over by cancer causing cells however, and lead to the proliferation of disease in the body. Using medication to inhibit this harmful form of angiogenesis has not yet been fully successful thanks to a number of side effects. In addition, some researchers believe that a preventative approach through nutrition can be far more effective in the long run. By consuming foods like mulberries, healthy people can strengthen their body’s ability to properly regulate angiogenesis and prevent potentially cancerous cells from developing and spreading throughout the body.
Mulberries also contain resveratrol, a phytonutrient that has also gotten attention lately for its antioxidant effects and potential to reduce the risk of heart disease. While many people are beginning to enjoy the resveratrol benefits that a glass of red wine can provide, mulberries are a great non-alcoholic option for consuming preventative quantities of this disease fighting nutrient.
Preparing and Enjoying Mulberries in a Healthy Diet
Incorporating mulberries in your diet is fairly simple. You may enjoy these fruits raw, juiced, or dried, although be sure that they aren’t dried at very high temperatures in order to preserve the enzymes and nutrients that make mulberries so powerful addition to your diet. While mulberries are naturally a bit tart, resist the urge to enhance your mulberry recipes with excessive refined sugars. Try pairing mulberries in recipes with other foods that have anti-angiogenesis properties, such as honey, chocolate, or naturally sweet berries and fruits like blueberries and cherries.
A balanced diet with an emphasis on plant-based whole foods can provide a range of benefits, including promoting healthy weight, preventing heart disease, and, thanks to the presence of anti-angiogenesis properties, potentially reducing the risk of cancer.