Once considered a seasonal delight; today, you will probably find blackberries in the grocery store all year round. As big as your thumb and as sweet as they can be, these succulent berries are both tasty and nutritious.
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“Throughout history, people have used blackberry fruits, leaves and brambles to treat a wide range of diseases,” says dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD. “Although modern medicine has replaced these medicinal uses, we are learning that blackberries have many other health benefits.”
Are blackberries healthy?
The short answer is yes. Blackberries are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. “These nutrients are essential for good health,” says Zumpano. “And research studies show that antioxidants can reduce inflammation and prevent many diseases, including cancer.”
Blackberries are also low in calories and carbohydrates. One cup has 62 calories and 13.8 grams of carbohydrates. This gives you the green light to fully enjoy it. Here are some of the main benefits blackberries offer.
1. Increase your body functions
Blackberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese. Your body depends on these nutrients to perform the following functions:
- C vitamin it is important for a strong immune system, for wound healing and for iron absorption. It can also act as an antioxidant, fighting free radicals that can lead to cancer.
- Vitamin K it is a key player in blood clotting and bone health.
- Manganese plays a role in energy production, protecting cells from damage, immunity, bone growth, reproduction and blood clotting.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 cup of blackberries can help you meet your recommended daily allowance (RDA) for these nutrients. The RDA is the amount you should consume each day.
|Type of nutrient||Quantity in 1 cup of blackberries||Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)||Percentage of RDA pending|
|C vitamin||30 milligrams||90 milligrams||33%|
|Vitamin K||29 milligrams||120 milligrams||24%|
|Manganese||0.9 micrograms||2.3 micrograms||39%|
2. Improves digestion and blood sugar levels
Fiber is a type of complex carbohydrate that you cannot digest. There are two types of fiber:
- Insoluble fiber it passes through your digestive system. Because it doesn’t break down, it helps keep food and waste moving and prevents constipation and bloating.
- Soluble fiber it breaks down in the intestine and enters the bloodstream. Helps lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and control blood sugar levels.
“Most people don’t get enough fiber in their diets, which can increase their risk of heart disease,” says Zumpano.
A high-fiber diet can help you:
- Check your weight.
- Lower your cholesterol.
- Relieves constipation.
- Regulates blood sugar levels.
Depending on your age and gender, you need 25 grams to 40 grams of fiber per day. With 7.6 grams of fiber per cup, blackberries can help you get the fiber you need to stay healthy.
3. Reduces inflammation
One of the main claims of fame of blackberries is that they are full of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. Antioxidants help fight stress by destroying unstable molecules called free radicals before they can damage cells. And blackberries are full of a polyphenol called anthocyanin, which can be helpful in treating inflammation.
Inflammation is your body’s way of responding to attacks from unnatural forces. An unhealthy lifestyle, stress or prolonged illness can overstimulate the immune system and lead to chronic inflammation. Over time, this inflammation can lead to:
4. Prevents cardiovascular diseases
Anthocyanins in blackberries can also help with cardiovascular disease and conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels. A common cause of cardiovascular disease is atherosclerosis, when plaque builds up inside the arteries. This buildup can cause:
- Heart attack.
- Kidney disease
- Peripheral Artery Disease.
- Chest pain.
Plaque formation is usually the result of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and inflammation. While it’s unclear whether anthocyanins reduce blood pressure, many studies have reported improvements in cholesterol and inflammation, Zumpano notes.
For example, a study of 150 people compared blood tests of people who received anthocyanin supplements with those who took placebos (sugar pills) for 24 weeks. They found that the anthocyanin group had lower concentrations of inflammatory proteins, higher levels of good cholesterol, and lower levels of bad cholesterol.
5. Protects and improves brain function
Brain-related inflammation can affect brain function and can respond to anthocyanins. Studies show that anthocyanins can:
- It increases blood flow to the brain and activates the areas that control speech, memory and attention.
- Improve speech and memory in people with mild or moderate dementia.
6. Prevents cancer
Anthocyanins can slow or stop cancer in several ways. Research is still evolving, but studies so far suggest that anthocyanins could:
- Blocks the DNA changes (mutations) that cause cancer.
- Destroy or slow the growth of cancer cells.
- Increases the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
- Prevent tumors from becoming cancerous.
Can you eat blackberries every day?
Blackberries should be part of a balanced diet. In general, experts recommend two servings of fruit per day. Each serving is 1 cup of fruit.
There is nothing wrong with eating blackberries as one of your daily portions of fruit. But it’s also good to mix things up. With such a variety of fruits available, try to cross the rainbow with your choices, advises Zumpano. This way, you get the range of nutrients and antioxidants found in other fruits.