The Health Benefits of Blackberries

Today I wanted to share with you the health benefits of blackberries.  Last summer while I was living at my parents house, IMG_20140330_135119_513waiting to move to Russellville to start back to school, I would frequently visit my friends Alicia and Johnny who live way out in the country and out in the woods.

A couple evenings last summer we would hop on their four-wheeler’s and go hunting for blackberries.  We would take a couple plastic bowls with us and off we would ride.  Our trips were always productive and we’d come back with bowls full of blackberries.  Well maybe not bowl’s full since we would eat as we picked, but plenty none the less.  🙂  Good memories for sure.

Thanks to the websites healthyeating.sfgate.com and Health Diaries for the information below on the health benefits of blackberries.  As always I appreciate it very much.

So now for the benefits of blackberries:

1.  A cup of raw blackberries has 62 calories, less than a gram of fat, 2 grams of protein, no cholesterol and only 1 gram of sodium.   Blackberries also gives you 7.6 grams of fiber, more fiber than a cup of bran flakes, which provide 7 grams.  If you are trying to lose weight, blackberries can give you quick energy, and their fiber content can help you stay full until your next meal, preventing you from wanting to snack on more fattening foods.

2.  Blackberry juice may be good for your heart, according to a group of researchers from Policlinico Universitario in Messina, Italy, who published a 2003 study in “Life Sciences,” a scientific journal distributed by Science Direct.  They observed the antioxidant activity of blackberry juice on vascular tissue damaged by free radicals induced by peroxynitrite, an oxidant that can damage or destroy DNA and cells.  Compounds called anthocyanins, they concluded, may increase the juice’s antioxidant activity and protect your cardiovascular system from disease.

3.  A 2009 study published in the medical journal “Nutritional Neuroscience” indicated that blackberry intake may have a positive impact on motor and cognitive skills, which often decline with age.   The researchers believe that the polyphenols in blackberries increase antioxidant levels enough to make them potentially beneficial to aging adults.

4.  Eating blackberries may help kill oral bacteria that cause illness.  According to Oregon State University, blackberries contain gallic acid, rutin and ellagic acid, compounds that may have antiviral and antibacterial properties.  In 2012, researchers from the University of Kentucky and the University of North Carolina examined the effects of blackberry extract’s antibacterial properties on periodontal health.  After testing it on 10 different kinds of bacteria, they concluded that blackberry extract’s ability to kill pathogens, along with its anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, make it a promising ingredient in products designed to prevent or treat periodontal infections.

5.   As with all berries, blackberries are a great source of ellagic acid, an antioxidant shown to protect the skin from damage from ultraviolet light.  Studies have also shown that ellagic acid may also repair skin damaged by the sun.  Vitamin C helps heal wounds, and studies also show vitamin C may even lessen the appearance of wrinkles.  Studies of cyanidin-3-glucoside, a compound found in blackberries showed it prevents skin cancer by inhibiting tumors from growing and spreading.

6.  Vitamin C functions as an antioxidant in blackberries and one cup contains half of the daily recommendation of vitamin C.  The body uses vitamin C for protection from immune system deficiencies, and may reduce the chances of macular degeneration, a condition in which fine vision deteriorates, resulting in central vision loss and is the leading cause of blindness in people over 50.

7.  Phytoestrogen’s are naturally occurring plant estrogen’s found in blackberries that may help relieve the common symptoms of PMS like bloating, food cravings, and even menopausal symptoms including hot flashes.

8.  Blackberries are a good source of vitamin K, offering 36% of the daily recommended amount of this nutrient used by the body for the clotting of blood and to aid the absorption of calcium.

As you can see blackberries have a number of health benefits.  I would encourage you to pick some up the next time you’re at the grocery store, or if you have the chance to pick your own when blackberry season comes around I would recommend that too.

Check out these recipes below that contain blackberries.  Good stuff!

Blackberry Spinach Salad

Berry Burst Sorbet

Mango Berry Fruit Salad

 

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