For some time now, blackberries, plants of the Rubus genus, Rosaceae family, are being cultivated worldwide for commercial purposes. Although in the United Kingdom, North America and Australia they have spread so aggressively that they are presently considered a type of modern weed, numerous scientific studies assert the incredible properties and health benefits of their fruits, also known as blackberries. Rich in vitamins C and K, copper and antioxidant anthocyanins and a good source of iron, zinc, vitamin A and B vitamins, blackberries have anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties and hold benefits for the cardiovascular, nervous, digestive and immune systems.
Despite their somewhat overwhelmingly rapid adaptation to some climates, blackberries are a preferred fruit in numerous dishes worldwide. Their abundance in so many American, European and Asian countries has made it easier for fresh stocks of blackberries to be available in a great number of local markets, thus encouraging the consumption of the fruit. This is undoubtedly the best way to ensure a proper intake of vitamins and minerals and enjoy the wonderful health benefits this fruit has to offer.
What do blackberries look and taste like?
Blackberries are soft, juicy, sweet and refreshing, with pleasant tart flavors. As they come into season and ripen, the fruit turn from light green to red and finally a dark blue-black color. They appeal to a great number of people due to their unique flavor, although there are those who find the seeds inconvenient and may choose to exclude the fruit from their diet for exactly this reason. However, blackberries are truly delightful and highly nutritious fruit, ideal for a balanced, varied diet. Blackberry jam, jelly, wine and pie have a heavenly taste as well, with a trademark sweet-tart flavor. Seen they are full of nutrients and amazingly healthy, it would be a great shame not to take advantage of the amazing health benefits of blackberry fruit.
Nutrition facts and health benefits
The berries are a rich source of dietary fiber, indigestible plant material with several excellent digestive benefits. Fiber not only relieves constipation by adding bulk to stools, but it is the secret to healthy, controlled weight-loss. Interestingly enough, the berries contain both soluble and insoluble fiber material. There are studies that link a sufficient daily fiber intake to a reduction in the risk of developing colon cancer. Additionally, the consumption of foods rich in fiber has proved efficient in reducing LDL cholesterol levels for better cardiovascular health.
Blackberries have incredible antioxidant properties. An analysis of their phytochemical content shows that they contain the following substances: anthocyanins (responsible for their beautiful and intense dark colour), ellagic acid, tannin, quercetin, gallic acid, cyanidin, pelargonidin, catechin, kaempferol and salicylic acid. The majority of these substances are extremely potent natural antioxidants that scavenge free radicals and prevent and repair cell damage.
Their effects are linked to reduced cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease risks. The latter, salicylic acid, is a strong anti-inflammatory compound from which aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is derived. It’s used for all sorts of pains and aches, as well as to reduce fever and a wide range of dermal problems. In traditional medicinal systems, foods containing salicylic acid are often sought for their pain-relieving, anticoagulant and fever-reducing properties. Overall blackberries are full of antioxidants which makes them great additions to any diet.
Another reason why the fruit are so incredibly healthy is their high vitamin and mineral content. Vitamin C, a powerful water-soluble antioxidant, is found in more than generous amounts in blackberries. Besides being a potent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, vitamin C is the prerequisite for collagen synthesis. Collagen is the main structural protein in our body and is essential for maintaining the integrity of our blood vessels, skin, bones and internal organs.
Additionally, blackberries have good levels of vitamins A, E and K. Vitamin E contributes to beautiful, radiant skin while vitamin K plays a crucial role in the process of blood coagulation and gives us strong, healthy bones. The berries provide not only good amounts of vitamin A, but also potent polyphenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, all of which are essential for a good eyesight and prevent the development of numerous chronic diseases by combating the oxidative effects of free radicals.
Another reason why blackberries are great for your health is their B vitamin content. Niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folic acid and pyridoxine help the body metabolize nutrients and ensure the resulting energy is properly distributed throughout our body. As far as dietary minerals are concerned, the delicious berries list potassium, magnesium, manganese and copper. Potassium regulates heart pressure and heart beat, while copper is essential for the production of both white and red blood cells. For further information on the exact vitamin and mineral content, feel free to refer to the nutritional table above.
Last but not least, blackberries are good for your teeth. They contain a so-called natural sugar alcohol, xylitol, which is used to substitute regular sugar in sweets. Although it is a sugar, the xylitol found in blackberries has been found to have antibacterial effects, protecting teeth from cavities by reducing the numbers of specific cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. Fresh and savory, the fruit are an excellent summer snack and, to be honest, quite ridiculously healthy.