In a world where we are spoiled for choice, berries have become one of the most popular fruits consumed by health-conscious consumers. While strawberries and blueberries are your go to berries, one particular berry that you probably don’t use regularly is blackberries. Being so versatile, blackberries today are used to make jams, any dessert of your choice or a great addition to your breakfast cereal. These tiny, darkly-hued berries are not only tasty but also come with a basket of benefits. In this article, we will look at how blackberries benefit us, their nutritional value, possible side effects, and some simple and popular recipes we can try at home.
What Is Blackberry?
Like its colorful siblings, strawberries, and blueberries, blackberries belong to the family Rosaceae. Seen as a wild plant due to its prickly and rough appearance in ancient times, this shrub was used by some cultures around the world for its medicinal properties. Used by the Greeks and Romans for making tea, today, blackberries are used to make jams, marmalades, or even as a topping on your favorite cereal. Even though it is hard to pin the origin of blackberries, it is now grown in all continents except Australia and Antarctica. With a rise in popularity, blackberries are being used all over the world for their health benefits. With a sweet and slightly tangy taste, blackberries are nature’s dessert for us.
These tiny berries are delicious and can be a great addition to our diet. But before we go into that, let’s see what kind of nutrients blackberries offer us.
Nutritional Information Of Blackberries
According to the nutritional information provided by The US Department of Agriculture, 1 cup of blackberries gives you 61.9 calories with a generous boost of 13.8g of carbohydrates and 7.6g of fiber. With just 0.7g of fat, you do not have to worry about putting on those extra pounds. Also with rich content of calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and magnesium, these berries are a very good source of nutrition (1).
|Vitamin C||30.2 mg|
Now that you know blackberries’ nutritional data, let us delve deeper into the different health benefits blackberries have to offer.
What Are The Potential Health Benefits Of Blackberries?
Blackberries’ benefits are numerous. From playing a major role in fighting cancer to having anti-inflammatory properties, let us see what research has to say (2).
- May Help Lower Cholesterol Levels
The World Health Organization says that high cholesterol levels increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and stroke. With a global prevalence of 39%, it is important that we find healthier ways to decrease cholesterol levels (3). According to a study that was conducted, hamsters with high cholesterol levels were given 5ml of blackberry nectar everyday. The researchers saw that the hamsters who had consumed blackberry nectar showed a decrease in their total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels, showing great promise in the treatment of cholesterol (4 ).
- May Help Fight Cancer
Blackberries contain water-soluble compounds known as anthocyanins that are found in different fruits that give them their beautiful color (5). These dark-hued berries have shown that they have immense potential in fighting cancer. A study was conducted to see the effect of blackberry extract on human colorectal cancer cells. The experts found that the blackberry extract had inhibited the growth of six cancer cell lines, indicating that blackberry extract played a role in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells (6). Another study found that blackberry was essential in inhibiting cell growth of breast, lung, colon, and gastric human tumor cells, suggesting that blackberry may play a key role in fighting cancer (7 ).
- May Play A Role In Preventing Oral Infection
An in vitro study was conducted to examine the antibacterial properties of blackberry extract against oral bacteria. The results showed that within an hour of exposure to blackberry extract, it had reduced the metabolic activity of three oral bacteria, indicating that blackberry may play an active role in the prevention of oral infection (8).
- May Improve Brain Function
While more research needs to be done to support this claim, blackberries have been shown to improve overall brain functioning. A study was done on 344 aged Fischer rats to see the effect of a blackberry supplemented diet on motor and cognitive function. The researchers saw an improvement in the motor function in regard to balance and coordination. Along with this, they also found that there was an improvement in their short-term memory (9).
- May Help In Improving Your Skin Health
In a study, blackberry and dill were combined to see their effect on skin elasticity. The researchers saw that the combination of blackberry and dill extract improved skin elasticity as compared to each ingredient individually. More research needs to be done to understand blackberries’ benefits for the skin (10).
- May Aid In Weight Loss
Research suggests that increased insulin sensitivity is linked to weight loss (11). With blackberries gaining popularity as a healthy food, researchers have been increasingly studying this super berry more. In a study, twenty-seven obese and overweight males were either given 600 grams of blackberries or gelatin everyday for a week before a glucose tolerance test was conducted. The results showed that those men who were given blackberries showed improved insulin sensitivity, indicating that blackberries may aid in weight loss but more studies will need to be conducted on humans to understand this phenomenon further (12).
- High In Antioxidants
In a study where the antioxidant levels of blackberries, black raspberries, and strawberries were examined, the results showed that blackberries and raspberries showed higher levels of antioxidants than strawberries (13). This is promising as antioxidants help fight free radicals, compounds that have a damaging effect on our health ( 14).
As you can see, the benefits of blackberries are many, be it aiding in shedding those extra pounds or helping you lower your cholesterol levels. While more research needs to be done, the results are promising. Let us read next about the different ways in which blackberries may be added to your diet.
How To Add Blackberries To Your Diet
Fresh blackberries are fruits that are versatile and can be added to any meal of the day, be it breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even a quick snack. You can add blackberries to your porridge or cereal if you want something tangy and sweet. On days when you are not feeling hungry and need something filling, a nice blackberry smoothie is the way to go. They are also a great ingredient to make pies and crumbles when you are craving something sweet.
Incorporating blackberries into your diet can add some color and a nice flavor to your daily food. Let’s look at some simple recipes of blackberries you can flip through.
List Of Popular Recipes With Blackberries
With so many recipes out there, here are a few simple ones that you can make anytime you want to.
- 1 cup of frozen blackberries
- ½ cup of frozen pineapple chunks
- ½ cup of plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- Add the blackberries, pineapple chunks, yogurt, and almond milk to a blender and blitz it till it is smooth. You can add more almond milk to make it less thick.
- Add 1 tablespoon of honey to complete your smoothie.
- 4 cups of fresh blackberries
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 9-inch double-crust pie
- 2 tablespoons of milk
- Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
- Combine 3 ½ cups of blackberries with sugar and flour.
- Spoon the mixture into the unbaked pie shell.
- Spread the remaining ½ cup berries on top of the sweetened berries, and cover with the top crust.
- Seal the edges and cut vents in the top crust for steam to escape.
- Brush the top crust with 2 tablespoons of milk.
- Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar on top of the pie and put it in the oven.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Reduce the temperature to 375°F (190°C), and bake for another 20 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.
- Cool the pie on a cooling rack and enjoy!
Blackberry fruit is a great addition to your diet as it can benefit your health in many ways. With that, let us see some possible side effects of blackberry.
Possible Side Effects Of Blackberry
Currently, there is no research that suggests that blackberries produce any possible side effects. They are relatively safe to consume. Washing them thoroughly before consumption is recommended. Now let’s see which of the berries is better for you, blackberries or blueberries?
Blackberry Vs. Blueberry – Which Is Best?
Both blueberries and blackberries benefit us in more ways than one. Blackberries, as seen from the earlier section, may help fight cancer, aid in weight loss, and do a lot more. Research has suggested that blueberries contain anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and may help in fighting gastrointestinal diseases (15). While blueberries are tangy, bordering on acidic, blackberries are sweet and juicy. If you are looking to add something sweet to your morning smoothie or cereal, blackberries would be the perfect addition to it. But if you are someone who likes their ice-cream or cake less sweet, then blueberries are your go to berries. Both berries are healthy in their own ways and it ultimately comes down to their availability and your personal choice.
Is blackberry good for you? The answer is yes. In the above sections, you can see that blackberries benefits our health in many ways. It can fight cancer, prevent oral infections, and may even improve our memory and motor function. With current research not showing any possible side effects, you can blend some blackberries into a delicious smoothie and relax!
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
How many blackberries should you eat a day?
While there is no set number for consuming blackberries everyday, the US Department of Agriculture recommends that 1 cup of blackberries has 61.9 calories and many other nutrients (1).
Are blackberries good for your stomach?
This is an area that still needs to be researched to understand the link between blackberries and stomach health.
Are blackberries good for your skin?
A study that was conducted suggests that a combination of blackberries and dill may increase skin elasticity (10). While the result is promising, more studies are needed to understand the association.
Are blackberries high in sugar?
No. According to the USDA, 1 cup of blackberries have 7.03g of sugar, which is considered low (1).
Do blackberries make you poop?
Do blackberries raise blood pressure?
While there is no research that suggests that blackberries raise blood pressure, limited studies have indicated that blackberries may be important in decreasing blood pressure (17).
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- Potential Health Benefits of Berries
- Raised Cholesterol
- Benefits of Blackberry Nectar (Rubus spp.) Relative to Hypercholesterolemia and Lipid Peroxidation
- Anthocyanidins and Anthocyanins: Colored Pigments as Food Pharmaceutical Ingredients and the Potential Health Benefits
- Blackberry Extract Inhibits Telomerase Activity in Human Colorectal Cancer Cells
- Anthocyanin Content, Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory and Anticancer Properties of Blackberry and Raspberry Fruits
- Antibacterial Effects of Blackberry Extract Target Periodontopathogens
- Effects of Blackberries on Motor and Cognitive Function in Aged Rats
- A Blackberry-dill Extract Combination Synergistically Increases Skin Elasticity
- Enhanced Insulin Sensitivity in Successful, Long-term Weight Loss Maintainers Compared with Matched Controls with No Weight Loss History
- Blackberry Feeding Increases Fat Oxidation and Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Overweight and Obese Males
- Antioxidant Activity in Fruits and Leaves of Blackberry Raspberry and Strawberry Varies with Cultivar and Developmental Stage
- Free Radicals Antioxidants and Functional Foods: Impact on Human Health
- Recent Research on the Health Benefits of Blueberries and Their Anthocyanins
- Effect of Dietary Fiber on Constipation: A Meta Analysis
- Effects of Blackberry (Morus Nigra L.) Consumption on Serum Concentration of Lipoproteins Apo A-I, Apo B, and High-sensitivity-C-reactive Protein and Blood Pressure in Dyslipidemic Patients
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