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04.06.2023
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Discover the Health Benefits of Blackberries

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Blackberries

Ready to add some sweetness to your life while improving your health? Look no further than the juicy and delicious blackberries! These berries not only taste great, but they also have anti-inflammatory properties, promote heart health, and may even help with weight loss. Read the article to know everything you need about blackberries.

Blackberries — the background information

Blackberries are a popular and delicious fruit that many love. These berries have a unique taste that perfectly blends sweetness and tartness. They have a distinct deep purple-black color and are known for their plump, juicy texture. Blackberries are part of the Rubus genus and are closely related to raspberries.

Blackberries can be found growing all around the world, from Asia to Europe and even South America. In the United States, blackberries grow wild in many regions, including the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, and the South.

Blackberries come in different varieties, depending on how and where they are grown. Garden blackberries are usually larger, sweeter, and less seedy than wild blackberries, making them popular for home gardeners. Commercially grown blackberries are also larger but may be less flavorful due to their long-distance transportation and storage.

On the other hand, wild blackberries are smaller and tarter. Just like any other types of blackberries, they are packed with nutrients, including antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. Wild blackberries are considered the most nutritious type of blackberries, followed by garden blackberries and commercially grown blackberries.

Blackberries — the background information

This difference in nutrition is because wild blackberries grow in their natural environment without pesticides or fertilizers, allowing them to absorb more nutrients from the soil. In contrast, garden and commercially grown blackberries are often treated with chemicals that can strip them of some of their nutrients. So, if you’re looking to get the most out of your blackberries nutritionally, consider picking some wild ones if they can be found in your area.

Nutritional value of blackberries

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 100 grams of raw blackberries contains the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 43 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 9.61 g
  • Fiber: 5.3 g
  • Sugar: 4.88 g
  • Protein: 1.39 g
  • Fat: 0.49 g
  • Vitamin C: 21 mg
  • Vitamin K: 19.8 mcg
  • Folate: 25 mcg
  • Calcium: 29 mg
  • Iron: 0.62 mg
  • Magnesium: 20 mg
  • Potassium: 162 mg

Blackberries contain high amounts of antioxidants, especially anthocyanins, responsible for their deep purple-black color. Research suggests these antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties, potentially reducing the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.

A comprehensive study of anthocyanin-containing extracts from selected blackberry cultivars: Extraction methods, stability, anticancer properties, and mechanisms

The abundant fiber in blackberries can aid digestion regulation and promote satiety, making blackberries an excellent choice for a nutritious diet.

Beneficial properties: medical and cosmetic applications

Blackberries are one of the top 10 antioxidant foods. Blackberries have a score of 5905 on the ORAC scale (a method for measuring antioxidant capacity of a product, or its ability to absorb free radicals, unbound molecules which can potentially harm bodily tissues). The benefits of blackberries include strengthening the immune system, preventing inflammatory processes, and reducing oxidative stress. In what follows, we take a closer look at these properties.

Nata Gonchar

Holistic Nutritionist, founder
of the project WOW Bali

TOP-10 ingredients
for your health and
balanced meal plan
Nata Gonchar

Holistic Nutritionist, founder
of the project WOW Bali

As Hippocrates said, you are what you eat. The meaning of this phrase concerns every person, who takes care of his health. The food we eat has a big impact on our vital activity, state of health and quality of life.

Nowadays healthy diet is very popular and everyone knows that he should give up junk food. But not everyone knows what he must eat except for grain, vegetables and protein food.

It's essential to diversify your diet. Every bite of food should provide you with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that are necessary for good health.

So how can we have a proper nutrition plan?

We prepared a PDF-file to help you. It contains TOP-10 ingredients, which should be added to everyone's diet.

Antioxidative properties and immune system support

Reducing inflammatory processes in the body, preventing infections, and boosting the immune system’s protective abilities are some of the benefits of antioxidants found in blackberries. Antioxidants protect the body against oxidative reactions and chronic inflammation, which can help prevent various diseases.

An experiment involving giving ellagitannins (an antioxidant found in blackberries and pomegranate) extracted from blackberries to animals has shown that in 88% of cases there was a reduction of inflammation in the stomach mucosa and oxidative stress.

Ellagitannins from Rubus Berries for the Control of Gastric Inflammation: In Vitro and In Vivo Studies

There is some evidence to suggest that blackberries may have antibacterial properties. Studies have shown that blackberries can inhibit the growth of certain bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. Some researchers have suggested that this may be due to various phytochemicals in blackberries, such as ellagic acid and anthocyanins.

Antibacterial properties of blackberry

While these findings are promising, more research is needed to fully understand the antibacterial potential of blackberries along with how they might be used to combat infections. It’s also important to note that while blackberries may have some antibacterial properties, they should not be relied upon as a sole treatment for bacterial infections. If you suspect a bacterial infection, seeking medical advice and following the appropriate treatment plan is essential.

Cardiovascular health support

Compounds found in blackberries have been shown to support cardiovascular health in numerous ways. One of the critical compounds is vitamin K, which has been found to help prevent the hardening of arteries, normalize blood pressure levels, and reduce inflammation in the cells that line blood vessels. This can help improve blood flow and reduce the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions.

In addition to vitamin K, blackberries also contain anthocyanins, a powerful plant pigment and antioxidant that has been shown to protect against endothelial dysfunction and heart failure. Endothelial dysfunction is a condition where the inner lining of blood vessels becomes damaged, which can contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease. By protecting against this dysfunction, anthocyanins may help prevent the development of heart disease.

The Potential Roles of Dietary Anthocyanins in Inhibiting Vascular Endothelial Cell Senescence and Preventing Cardiovascular Diseases

Finally, phenolic compounds found in blackberries have been shown to help strengthen the myocardium and the heart’s muscular tissue and improve the density and elasticity of blood vessel walls. This can help arteries clear out “bad” cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. By incorporating blackberries into a healthy diet, individuals can support their cardiovascular health and reduce their risk of heart disease and other conditions.

Roles of Phenolic Compounds in Reducing Risk Factors of Cardiovascular Diseases

Vision support

Blackberries contain various antioxidants, including vitamin C, anthocyanins, and carotenoids, which can support eye health. These compounds protect the eye from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. This damage can contribute to the development of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Vitamin C, found in blackberries, supports retinal health (retina is part of the eye responsible for sensing light). Blackberries contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin which have been shown to accumulate in the retina and may help protect against damage caused by blue light exposure.

Other studies have found that consuming anthocyanin-rich foods can help reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.

Nutrients for Prevention of Macular Degeneration and Eye-Related Diseases

While more research is needed to fully understand the link between blackberries and eye health, incorporating these berries into a your diet can be a tasty and potentially beneficial choice for maintaining healthy vision.

Brain support

Compounds found in blackberries have been found to support brain function through several mechanisms. One such mechanism is the presence of flavonoids, known for their antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect the brain from oxidative damage caused by free radicals, which can lead to age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Blackberries contain high levels of anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid that has been shown to improve cognitive function and memory.

Effects of Berry Anthocyanins on Cognitive Performance, Vascular Function, and Cardiometabolic Risk Markers: A Systematic Review of Randomized Placebo-Controlled Intervention Studies in Humans

In addition to flavonoids, blackberries contain vitamins C and E, potent antioxidants that protect the brain from oxidative stress. Vitamin C, in particular, has been shown to improve human cognitive function.

Plasma Vitamin C Concentrations and Cognitive Function: A Cross-Sectional Study

Studies have also found that vitamin E may help prevent cognitive decline and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Association of vitamin E intake in diet and supplements with risk of dementia: A meta-analysis

Furthermore, blackberries are rich in polyphenols, plant compounds shown to have neuroprotective effects. Polyphenols help to improve cognitive function, protect against neurodegenerative diseases, and enhance brain plasticity. Blackberries are exceptionally high in a type of polyphenol called ellagitannins, which have been found to have neuroprotective effects.

Neuroprotective Effects of Ellagitannins: A Brief Review

Anti-cancer properties

Blackberries are rich in phytochemicals that have been shown to possess cancer-fighting properties. One such compound is ellagic acid, which has been found to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in vitro and animal studies.

Phenolic compound ellagic acid inhibits mitochondrial respiration and tumor growth in lung cancer

Ellagic acid is believed to work by preventing the activation of cancer-causing compounds in the body and inducing apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in cancer cells. This compound is found in high concentrations in blackberries, making them an excellent dietary source for cancer prevention.

Another important cancer-fighting compound found in blackberries is anthocyanins. These powerful antioxidants have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties. In vitro studies have found that anthocyanins can inhibit the growth of cancer cells by inducing their self-death, reducing oxidative stress, and inhibiting the process by which tumors develop their blood supply.

Effects of anthocyanins on the prevention and treatment of cancer

In addition to ellagic acid and anthocyanins, blackberries are a good source of other cancer-fighting compounds, such as vitamin C and fiber. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. In contrast, fiber helps to promote healthy digestion and eliminate toxins from the body. Together, these compounds help reduce the risk of cancer by protecting the body from toxins and free radicals. Incorporating blackberries into your diet is an excellent way to support your body’s natural cancer-fighting abilities.

Skin health support

Blackberries contain a variety of compounds that may support skin health and appearance. One of the most important compounds is vitamin C. Vitamin C helps protect skin cells from damage caused by harmful free radicals, which can cause premature aging and other skin problems. Additionally, vitamin C is used by the body to produce collagen, the main structural protein in all parts of the body.

Another important group of compounds found in blackberries is anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and may help protect skin cells from damage and inflammation. They may also help improve blood flow to the skin, improving skin health and appearance.

Ellagic acid, found in blackberries, has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. It may help protect skin cells from damage caused by UV radiation, which is a significant risk factor for skin cancer. It may also help prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells in the skin. While more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of ellagic acid for skin health, it is becoming increasingly clear that blackberries are a great source of this important compound.

Blackberry extracts are used in various cosmetic products, such as moisturizers, serums, and masks. They are often included in anti-aging formulations due to their ability to protect against free radicals, which are known to damage skin cells and cause premature aging. Blackberry extracts are also used in products designed to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots.

Skin health support 

In addition to their anti-aging benefits, blackberry extracts have been reported to improve skin texture and tone. Blackberry extracts help to brighten and even out skin tone, reducing dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

Weight management and detoxification support

Blackberries are a good source of fiber, which can help promote weight regulation and improve digestive health. The high fiber content in blackberries can help keep you full for extended periods, reducing the likelihood of overeating or snacking between meals. Additionally, fiber can help regulate bowel movements and promote the elimination of toxins from the body, which can contribute to overall detoxification.

Blackberries are rich in polyphenols, which have potential detoxifying properties. Polyphenols can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, which contributes to the development of chronic diseases and can impede weight loss efforts. Furthermore, the high levels of vitamin C may also support detoxification by promoting glutathione production. This natural antioxidant helps the liver eliminate toxins from the body.

Incorporating blackberries into a healthy and balanced diet can support weight regulation and promote detoxification, vital for overall health and well-being. However, it is essential to remember that blackberries should not be used as a sole method of detoxification or weight loss but should be part of a holistic approach to health and wellness.

Men’s health support

Compounds found in blackberries can have beneficial effects on men’s health as well. One of the most important components is ellagic acid – a polyphenol with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has anti-cancer properties, which is relevant for the prostate cancer – a significant health concern for men. Blackberries also contain folate, a B vitamin essential for DNA synthesis and cell growth.

In addition to their anti-cancer properties, blackberries contain compounds that can help support men’s sexual health. Blackberries are rich in vitamin C, which is key in producing nitric oxide. This molecule helps to relax blood vessels and improve blood flow. Improved blood flow can positively impact erectile function and other sexual health issues.

Women’s health support

Blackberries are a rich source of various compounds that offer several benefits to women’s health. These compounds include antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

For women who are going through menopause, blackberries can help alleviate symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. A decrease in estrogen levels causes these symptoms, and some compounds found in blackberries can help to regulate hormonal imbalances in the body. The fiber found in blackberries can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, which can be more common during menopause.

For pregnant women, consuming blackberries can be especially beneficial due to their high vitamin C and folate content. Vitamin C is essential for developing healthy fetus skin, bones, and cartilage. Folate helps to prevent congenital disabilities of the brain and spine. Blackberries also contain potassium, which helps to maintain healthy blood pressure levels during pregnancy. Furthermore, the fiber in blackberries can help relieve constipation, which is a common issue during pregnancy.

Breastfeeding mothers can also benefit from consuming blackberries. The antioxidants in blackberries help protect cells from damage and reduce inflammation, which can help prevent certain types of cancer. The fiber in blackberries can also aid digestion, prevent constipation, and promote gut health. Additionally, blackberries are a good source of vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting and bone health. Incorporating blackberries into a breastfeeding mother’s diet can provide numerous benefits for both mother and baby.

Potential side effects of blackberries

There is no strict daily limit for blackberry consumption, but as with any food, moderation is key. Generally, it is safe for adults to consume up to 1-2 cups of fresh blackberries per day, which corresponds to roughly 120-240 grams. For children, the recommended amount may vary depending on their age, weight, and overall health status. It is best to consult a pediatrician or a registered nutritionist to determine the appropriate amount of blackberries for your child’s needs.

It is important to note that excessive consumption of blackberries may lead to digestive issues such as diarrhea, bloating, or stomach cramps, especially if you are not used to high-fiber foods. Additionally, individuals with a history of allergies or sensitivities to berries may experience adverse reactions and should avoid blackberries altogether.

Usage guidelines

Blackberries are versatile and delicious fruit that can be enjoyed in various ways. However, there are some valuable guidelines to remember to get the most out of this nutritious fruit.

First and foremost, make sure to buy ripe blackberries. Look for berries that are plump, dark, and have a slightly glossy appearance. They should also be firm to the touch, not soft or mushy.

Blackberries are delicate fruits that can quickly become bruised or damaged, so it’s best to handle them carefully. Store them in a single layer in a shallow container in the refrigerator. Avoid stacking them on top of each other, as this can cause them to become crushed.

When preparing blackberries, it’s essential to wash them thoroughly under running water to remove any dirt. They can be eaten fresh or used in various dishes, such as smoothies, salads, and desserts. Blackberries also pair well with savory dishes, such as grilled meats and salads.

How to store blackberries

Shelf life. Hand-picked blackberries can be stored for 2-3 days at room temperature and 5-7 days in the refrigerator. The storage time of store-bought varieties of blackberries may vary.

Freezing. Blackberries freeze well. It is best to freeze them in flat layers.

Drying. If done correctly, drying can preserve the beneficial properties of the berries. An important detail is that the temperature during drying should range between 104-122°F.

Blackberries in cooking and healthy recipes

Blackberries can be used in the preparation of various dishes, from salads to smoothies and desserts. The berries can be consumed fresh or processed. However, processing, especially at high temperatures, can lead to the loss of most of the beneficial nutrients.

Blackberries in cooking and healthy recipes

Below we present a few simple and delicious recipes containing blackberries.

Antioxidant salad with blackberries and avocado (2-4 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of mixed greens (spinach, arugula, and/or kale)
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1 cup of fresh blackberries
  • 1/4 cup of toasted walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons of crumbled goat cheese
  • For the dressing: 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper to taste.

Instructions:

  1. Rinse and dry the mixed greens and place them in a large bowl.
  2. Add the sliced avocado, fresh blackberries, and toasted walnuts to the greens.
  3. Sprinkle crumbled goat cheese over the salad.
  4. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  5. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine.

Probiotic smoothie with blackberries and spinach (1-2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of fresh spinach
  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup of fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (optional)
  • Ice cubes (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Rinse and dry the fresh spinach and blackberries.
  2. In a blender, add the spinach, almond milk, blackberries, Greek yogurt, chia seeds, and honey (if using).
  3. Blend all ingredients until smooth.
  4. If you prefer a thicker consistency, add a handful of ice cubes and blend again.
  5. Pour the smoothie into a glass and serve immediately.

Blackberry and Chia Seed Pudding (2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey (optional)
  • Shredded coconut and additional blackberries for topping

Instructions:

  1. In a blender, puree the almond milk, blackberries, vanilla extract, and honey (if using) until smooth.
  2. Pour the mixture into a bowl and whisk in the chia seeds until well combined.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Before serving, stir the pudding well to ensure the chia seeds are evenly distributed.
  5. Divide the pudding into bowls and top with shredded coconut and additional blackberries.

References