Blackberries grow wild on thorny bushes and are cultivated on every temperate continent, including Africa and Asia. They are composed of many individual drupelets, each like a small berry with one seed. Blackberries are popularly made into jams, juices, desserts and even wine. Rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, blackberries are highly nutritious and rich in antioxidants. They are also low in calories, carbohydrates, and fat, making them one of the best fruits out there for those who are watching their waistlines. Here are 8 health benefits of blackberries.
Anthocyanins, the antioxidants that give blackberries their dark color, have been shown to reduce inflammation. They destroy free radicals in the body that harm cells and lead to cancer. Research has also shown that the ellagic acid in blackberries may have anti-cancer properties. One cup of blackberries contains half of the daily recommendation of the antioxidant vitamin C, which protects the immune system and may lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer.
Researchers have found that blackberries (and other berries) may reduce esophageal cancer by relieving the oxidative stress caused by Barrett’s esophagus, a precancerous condition usually brought about by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Perhaps the greatest benefit from eating blackberries is the high level of phenolic acids that they contain. Phenolic acids are antioxidant compounds that have powerful anti-cancer properties.
The anthocyanins that give blackberries their dark color are antioxidants that have been shown to reduce inflammation by helping to combat free radicals in the body that can lead to heart disease. The Vitamin C in blackberries acts as an antioxidant and one cup of blackberries contains half of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Research suggests that consuming vitamin C may prevent or slow the progress of the hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) that can lead to cardiovascular problems like heart attack and stroke.
Blackberries are a great source of ellagic acid, an antioxidant that has been shown to protect the skin from UV damage. Research has found that ellagic acid may help to prevent sun damage by keeping collagen from degrading and reducing the inflammatory response caused by the sun. The Vitamin C in blackberries helps with wound healing and studies have also shown that vitamin C may 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.
The anthocyanins in blackberries may protect against macular degeneration, an age-related eye disease that results in central vision loss and is the leading cause of blindness in people over 50. The vitamin C in blackberries may also help to protect against macular degeneration and cataracts.
Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring plant estrogens found in blackberries that research has found may help to relieve the perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. They may also help with the symptoms of PMS like bloating, food cravings, and even menopausal symptoms like hot flashes.
Digestive Tract Health
Just one cup of blackberries contains over thirty percent of the daily recommended amount of fiber, which promotes healthy digestion and aids in maintaining bowel regularity by bulking up the feces and reducing the time it takes matter to pass all the way through the intestines. Bowel regularity is commonly associated with a decreased risk for colon cancer.
The fiber in blackberries helps to curtail extremes regarding simple sugar uptake from the digestive tract. An excess of simple sugar uptake all at once can produce an unwanted blood sugar spike. A lack of simple sugar uptake may produce a rapid blood sugar drop. Either extreme can upset blood sugar balance. The quantity of fiber in blackberries helps to avoid both extremes.
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. Vitamin C is also believed to protect against bone loss.