If anyone asks you 5 features of blackberry smartphone; you can tell 10 features in next minute. But what if one asks you 5 health benefits of blackberries? We doubt you would ever know. Only thing which you might know is the peculiar rich dark color and juicy, tangy sweet flavor.
Blackberries we eat are an aggregate fruit – it is basically collection of small berries/drupes. Blackberry plant belongs to family of wild roses – Rosicacea. They are widely cultivated in Europe and North America and today it is considered a superfruit for its strong antioxidant property. It is also called Bramble / brymbyl / brummel / bly berries.
History shows that Blackberries was treated as wild plant by old cultures. Greeks used blackberry to cure Gout. It was so popular then that the fruit was called goutberry. Romans used blackberry leaf tea to treat sore throats, mouth ulcers, and diarrhea. In 10th century, Arabs considered the fruit to be aphrodisiac. Egyptians used the dark color of blackberries to color hair. During Civil war it was used to cure dysentery epidemic. Blackberry cultivation started only in 19th century. Loganberry, Boysenberry, Youngberry, Phenomenal Berry, Dewberry, Nessberry, Marionberry and Thimbleberries are hybrid varieties of blackberries. Today there are around 1000 known blackberry species.
Blackberries can be eaten raw. They also find great use in salads, ice creams, desserts, sorbets, smoothies, jams, jellies, etc. They add special flavours to your baked products like muffins, pie, pastry or puddings.
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Nutrition Facts – Blackberries
Packed with excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin E, Folate, Manganese and Copper, this nutritious berry offers various health benefits. Other vitamins and minerals present in minor quantities include Vitamin B, Vitamin A, Calcium, iron and zinc. Blackberries are also good source of dietary fibers. Blackberries are also good source of phytonutrients like phenols, flavonoids including anthocyanins, ellagic acid, tannin, quercetin, gallic acid, cyanidins, pelargonidins, catechins, kaempferol and salicylic acid. Many of these have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which make blackberry a superfood.
Blackberries contain various large seeds which are packed with omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, fibers, proteins and phytochemicals like carotenoids, ellagitannins and ellagic acid.
Health Benefits of blackberries
It was only after a study found high antioxidant properties of blackberries; this nutritious fruit has been looked at for its health benefits. While it was used traditionally for treating minor illness, health benefits of blackberries in treatment of cancer, blood clotting, increasing immunity, cardiovascular health and others have been recently looked for. Some health benefits of blackberries are shown below:
Antioxidant benefits of Blackberries
A 2006 study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition first pointed out high antioxidant properties of blackberries. Blackberries offers highest antioxidant content of 5.7 µmol per serving size. This antioxidant property of blackberry can be attributed to Vitamin C, Vitamin E and other phytonutrients including anthocyanins and other phenols. Blackberries help protect the body from harmful action of free oxygen radical. Scavenging free radical is essential for health of vital organs of body.
Blackberries for diabetes
High fiber content helps make blackberry a filling fruit. It is filling in nature. It slows down digestion of sugar in stomach and controls blood sugar. Studies have confirmed Anti-hyperglycemic effect of blackberry which is useful for diabetes.
Blackberries and treatment of Cancer
Blackberries contain various phtytochemcials including anthocyanins which have found to be potent in treatment of cancer. Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants which help prevent harmful effect of free radical on cells which may result in DNA mutation and cancers. Research has also shown that blackberries contain ascorbic acid, salicylic acid and ellagic acid which have been associated in preliminary research of cancer.
Anti-inflammatory properties of Blackberries
Blackberries offer to reduce inflammation. It helps alleviate intestinal inflammation, hemorrhoids, sooth diarrhea. Traditionally blackberries including its leaves and bark have been used in treatment of gum inflammation and sore throats.
Blackberries benefits for heart
Anthocyanins and other nutrients in blackberries with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are good for heart. It helps prevent heart risks and protects cardio vascular system. Blackberry seeds are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which are considered healthy for heart.
Benefits for eye
With its antioxidant activity, blackberries protect eye cells from oxidative stress. Studies have found benefits of anthocyanins in protection of macular degeneration. It can protect vision from aging and deterioration.
Blackberries for brain function
Recent scientific evidence suggests role of berries including blackberries in protecting brain cells and aiding brain function. It protects brain from age related memory loss. ACS Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry article suggests consuming blackberries as smart move for healthy brain function. It reduces inflammation in brain while improving brain activity. Animal studies have confirmed blackberries benefits on motor and cognitive function.
Blackberries aids digestion
With high dietary fiber content, blackberries help proper digestion. It helps bowel movements and prevents constipation.
Blackberries and Blood Clotting
Vitamin K plays important role in functioning of protein required for blood clotting. It prevents clotting of blood in vessels and thus reduces risk of stroke or clot. Consumption of blackberries may prevent Vitamin K deficiencies which may lead to osteoporosis or heart disorders.
Blackberry increases immunity
Vitamin C is known to increase immunity and prevent infections. Regular consumption of blackberries can prevent incidence of common cold and flu.
Benefits for skin
With its strong antioxidant properties, blackberries are helpful in protecting skin from UV damange and prevent signs of aging, dark patches, wrinkles and others. They also supplies body with nutrients like Zinc, vitamin C, Vitamin E which are helpful for skin. With nearly 90% content as water, it provides hydration for skin. Blackberry seeds contains essential oil which is rich in omega-3 and omeg-6 fatty acids which are vital for skin health. Blackberry juice along with honey works as very good homemade skin mask. This mask can help rejuvenate skin and make it smooth and moisturized.
Benefits for hair
Antioxidant nature of Blackberries is helpful for protecting hair from environmental damage. Washing hair with Blackberry juice or blackberry extract is good way of treating your hair with benefits of blackberry.
Blackberry Benefits for women
Blackberry nutrients are similar to human estrogen and can help relieve common symptoms of PMS like bloating, stomach cramps. It can also relieve menopausal symptoms including hot flashes. Blackberry leaf tea is traditional home remedy in case of excessive bleeding. Blackberry fruit is considered tonic for uterus and helps regulate menses. Women require various nutrients including Vitamin K and Folic acid during pregnancy. Blackberry supplies these nutrients and may prove helpful to pregnant woman. Refreshing flavor of blackberry makes it healthy snack during pregnancy.
Bone Health and Blackberries
Blackberries are rich source of vitamin K which are essential in calcium absorption and thus health of bone. It also offers various minerals including calcium, magnesium and phosphorus which are required for healthy bone growth.
Blackberries for weight loss
Any high fiber low calorie food may be looked forward as part of weight loss diet. Blackberry offers health option of snacks in weight loss diet, while it supplies body with essential nutrients.
Blackberry as mouth wash
Astringent tannins in blackberries are believed to be effective natural mouth wash. They offer chemicals which maintain oral hygiene.
Benefits of Blackberries leaf tea
Blackberry leaves tea has been traditionally used as therapeutic drink in treatment of various illness. With presence of astringent tannins, it is found effective in curing dysentery and diarrhea. This tea is also effective over sore throat and cough. External application helps healing of wounds.
Any risks of use of blackberries
Allergy from blackberries is rare. However presence of salicylic acid may cause symptoms like swelling of mouth or lips, eczema, skin rash and gastrointestinal trouble in people sensitive to it. Salicylic acid is similar to drug aspirin. Intake of blackberry leaf tea should be avoided in large quantity. They contain tannins which in large quantity may cause stomach disorders. Adding milk to this tea may neutralize some effect of tannins.