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Blackberry vs Mulberry - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Mulberry

Introduction

On the outside, blackberries and mulberries look quite similar, however, botanically, they don’t have much in common. Blackberries are the edible fruit of the Rubus genus, belonging to the Rosaceae family, whereas mulberries belong to the Morus genus, from the Moraceae family. Blackberries grow on prickly bushes and mulberries grow on trees that can reach to be over 24 meters (80ft.) (1). Botanically speaking, both blackberries and mulberries are not berries at all. Blackberries are aggregate fruits that have numerous drupelets, and mulberries are multiple fruits.

Ripe mulberries can be black, white or red, depending on the species. Blackberries, on the other hand, when ripe appear to be only dark purple or black. Mulberries are also famous for their staining ability. When it comes into contact, it often stains the clothes and the skin, whereas blackberries don’t tend to do that. The shape of blackberries is often rounder, while some species of mulberry fruits can grow to be around 10cm (0.3ft.) in length. When picked, the mulberry fruit tends to have a white or green stem on it, contrastingly, the blackberry does not.

The origin of white mulberry is traced back to Central and Easten China. It spread to Europe and eventually, to North America, where it was naturalized and hybridized with the red mulberry. The red mulberry is also called the American mulberry, since it is native to eastern United States, from Massachusetts to Kansas and down the Gulf coast. The black mulberry, being native to Eastern Asia, has spread to Europe centuries ago (1).

The historic route of blackberries isn’t so clear. They are native to Asia, Europe, North America (2), mostly in north temperate zones.

Nutrition

General nutritional characteristics may differ depending on the type of mulberries, here we will be talking about the black mulberry.

The macronutrient composition of blackberries and mulberries is not so different. They have the same amount of calories per serving. Mulberries are slightly higher in protein and carbohydrates, sugars in particular. Blackberries, on the other hand, are richer in fats and fiber. Mulberries and blackberries are equal in glycemic index, both having an index of 25 and being considered as low glycemic index foods.

Vitamins

Both blackberries and mulberries are rich in vitamins. Blackberries contain higher concentrations of vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin K, whereas mulberries are richer in vitamin C, vitamins B1, B2 and B6. Both fruits are equal in the amount of vitamin B3 and do not contain vitamin D, vitamins B12 and B9.

Minerals

Blackberries are higher in copper and zinc. On the other hand, mulberries contain more iron, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. Blackberries are lower in sodium. Both fruits contain almost the same amount of magnesium.

Health Impact

Berries have long been considered an important part of a healthy human diet. Both blackberries and mulberries are high in phytochemicals and antioxidants, giving them various beneficial qualities. Both fruits have strong scavenging and metal chelating activities and can be used as functional foods.

Overall it has been reported that levels of phenolic and flavonoid compounds in black mulberry fruits are higher than that of blackberry’s (4). Long mulberries contain these compounds in lesser amounts (5).

The predominant organic acid present in a wild grown black mulberry is the malic acid (3). Malic acid is one of the compounds involved in the cell’s Krebs cycle and has been used for medicinal purposes, most commonly to alleviate symptoms of dry mouth. It can also be helpful in conditions such as fibromyalgia, skin conditions and fatigue, however there is yet not enough scientific evidence to support this (6).

Black mulberry has a stronger antioxidant capacity when compared to white mulberry. Among the phenolic acids, the one with the highest concentration in wild grown blackberries and in white and black mulberries was chlorogenic acid. Chlorogenic acid has anthocyanin stabilizing qualities (7). Another phenolic acid, oxalic acid, was only found in the wild grown blackberries (3). The predominant organic acids found in blackberries were citric and malic acids (8).

Both mulberries and blackberries are also rich in a polyphenol called resveratrol. Resveratrol has been found to modulate vascular cell function, inhibit low density lipoprotein oxidation, suppress platelet aggregation and reduce myocardial damage during ischaemia reperfusion, presenting biological benefits during cardiovascular conditions and inflammation. Resveratrol has also been shown to inhibit kinase activity, which is a factor related to cancer (9). 

The antioxidant that gives blackberries and mulberries their dark colouring is called anthocyanin, which also has an array of health benefits. Anthocyanins in mulberries have been proven to express hepatoprotective and hypolipidemic qualities during liver cirrhosis (10), as well as having the ability to potentially prevent atherosclerosis, inhibit melanoma metastasis and gastric cancer cell growth (11). Anthocyanins found in blackberries, on the other hand, have been proven to ameliorate diet-induced obesity by alleviating oxidative stress and inflammation and accelerating energy expenditure (12). 

Another compound found in mulberries with a complicated name of cyanidin-3-O-beta-d-glucopyranoside or C3G for short, has been proven to have protective qualities against cerebral ischaemia (13).

A study has shown that blackberry extracts have antimicrobial qualities against significant periodontal pathogens, as well as Streptococcus mutans, that can be effectively used in order to maintain oral health (14).

The aqueous herbal tea extract of blackberries, due to its phenolic content, can potentially prevent the development of vascular diseases seen in type 2 diabetes (15). 

The antidiabetic effects of a mulberry are due to polysaccharides found within white mulberries that express antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic activities (16), as well as due to its concentration of anthocyanin (17).

Summary

Blackberries and mulberries have many similarities, as well as differences. Blackberries grow on bushes and have a rounder shape, mulberries grow on trees and are more oval. They are similar in nutritional values, however blackberries contain more fiber, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, copper and zinc, whereas mulberries are richer in sugars, vitamin C, vitamin B2, iron, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. 

Both fruits are very rich in antioxidants, such as polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins, therefore have potential beneficial effects on cardiovascular, diabetic and oncological conditions.

In the debate of blackberry vs mulberry, there is no clear answer and the choice is up to the individual preference.

Sources

  1. https://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/mulberry.html
  2. https://cals.arizona.edu/fps/sites/cals.arizona.edu.fps/files/cotw/blackberry.pdf
  3. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301583793
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0308814606008387
  5. https://www.potravinarstvo.com/journal1/index.php/potravinarstvo/article/view/1132/933
  6. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263225863
  7. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13102818.2016.1204943
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4288802/
  9. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1756464616301153
  10. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0308814611009186
  11. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2018/4051232/
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16181734/
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3540108/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5981255/
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28163112/
  16. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27580020

Infographic

Blackberry vs Mulberry infographic
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Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
Contains more Magnesium +11.1%
Contains more Copper +175%
Contains more Zinc +341.7%
Contains less Sodium -90%
Contains more Iron +198.4%
Contains more Calcium +34.5%
Contains more Potassium +19.8%
Contains more Phosphorus +72.7%
Equal in Magnesium - 18
Contains more Magnesium +11.1%
Contains more Copper +175%
Contains more Zinc +341.7%
Contains less Sodium -90%
Contains more Iron +198.4%
Contains more Calcium +34.5%
Contains more Potassium +19.8%
Contains more Phosphorus +72.7%
Equal in Magnesium - 18

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
Contains more Vitamin A +756%
Contains more Vitamin E +34.5%
Contains more Vitamin K +153.8%
Contains more Folate, total +316.7%
Contains more Vitamin C +73.3%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +45%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +288.5%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +66.7%
Equal in Vitamin B3 - 0.62
Contains more Vitamin A +756%
Contains more Vitamin E +34.5%
Contains more Vitamin K +153.8%
Contains more Folate, total +316.7%
Contains more Vitamin C +73.3%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +45%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +288.5%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +66.7%
Equal in Vitamin B3 - 0.62

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

Summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfils human daily needs, the more the summary score is
Vitamin Summary Score
20
Blackberry
21
Mulberry
Mineral Summary Score
11
Blackberry
12
Mulberry

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Protein
8%
Blackberry
9%
Mulberry
Carbohydrates
10%
Blackberry
10%
Mulberry
Fats
2%
Blackberry
2%
Mulberry

Comparison summary table

Pay attention at the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Blackberry Mulberry
Lower in Sugars ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Lower in glycemic index Equal
Rich in minerals Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

Which food is preferable in case of diets?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Blackberry Mulberry
Low Calories diet Equal
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low glycemic index diet Equal

People also compare

Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sugars?
Blackberry
Blackberry contains less Sugars (difference - 3.22g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Blackberry
Blackberry contains less Sodium (difference - 9mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Blackberry
Blackberry is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.013g)
Which food is cheaper?
Blackberry
Blackberry is cheaper (difference - $0.1)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
?
The foods have equal glycemic indexes (25)
Which food is richer in minerals?
?
It cannot be definitely stated which food is richer in minerals. See charts below for detailed information.
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be definitely stated which food is richer in vitamins. See charts below for detailed information.

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

In the column "Opinion" we made some assumptions which could be controversial. For instance we are assuming that less saturated fats is good for you. Please ignore this column if you have your own opinion.We marked the nutrients, comparison of which we considered as not meaningful, as "N/A"
Nutrient Blackberry Mulberry Opinion
Calories 43 43
Protein 1.39 1.44 Mulberry
Fats 0.49 0.39 Blackberry
Vitamin C 21 36.4 Mulberry
Carbs 9.61 9.8 Mulberry
Cholesterol 0 0
Vitamin D 0 0
Iron 0.62 1.85 Mulberry
Calcium 29 39 Mulberry
Potassium 162 194 Mulberry
Magnesium 20 18 Blackberry
Sugars 4.88 8.1 Mulberry
Fiber 5.3 1.7 Blackberry
Copper 0.165 0.06 Blackberry
Zinc 0.53 0.12 Blackberry
Starch 0 Blackberry
Phosphorus 22 38 Mulberry
Sodium 1 10 Blackberry
Vitamin A 214 25 Blackberry
Vitamin E 1.17 0.87 Blackberry
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin B1 0.02 0.029 Mulberry
Vitamin B2 0.026 0.101 Mulberry
Vitamin B3 0.646 0.62 Blackberry
Vitamin B5 0.276 Blackberry
Vitamin B6 0.03 0.05 Mulberry
Vitamin B12 0 0
Vitamin K 19.8 7.8 Blackberry
Folate, total 25 6 Blackberry
Folic acid (B9) 0 0
Trans Fat 0 0
Saturated Fat 0.014 0.027 Blackberry
Monounsaturated Fat 0.047 0.041 Blackberry
Polyunsaturated fat 0.28 0.207 Blackberry
Tryptophan
Threonine
Isoleucine
Leucine
Lysine
Methionine
Phenylalanine
Valine
Histidine
Fructose 2.4 Blackberry
The main source of information is USDA Food Composition Database (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
Dietary Guidelines for Americans is used as the primary source for advice in this web resource
Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.