The blackberry is an edible fruit of a multitude of plant species in the genus Rubus of the rose family, just like the raspberry and dewberry. What distinguishes the blackberry from the raspberry relatives is if the stem stays with the fruit when picked or not. When picking a blackberry fruit, the stem stays with the fruit. The raspberry, on the other hand, leaves a hollow core in the raspberry fruit when picked. Immature blackberries are red or green and hard to the touch, which later becomes a black, soft, juicy, and glossy fruit on ripening.
Here are seven health benefits of blackberries:
1. Blackberries could help improve your digestive health.
Blackberries contain a high amount of dietary fiber, which prevents constipation, making your bowel movement easier to manage. The daily recommended dietary fiber intake for men and women are 38 grams and 25 grams, respectively.
A diet rich in blackberries could also change the composition of your gut bacteria. A study, published in Food Bioscience, suggested that blackberries have an important role in retaining gut health in the small intestine. In the study, blackberry consumption increased the probiotic bacteria and decreased pathogenic bacteria in the gut.
2. Blackberries have significant antioxidant properties.
Blackberries contain an abundant quantity of powerful antioxidants like phenolic acids, flavonoids, and flavonols that seek and neutralize free radicals. This avoids oxidative damage and prevents normal cells from mutating into cancer cells.
3. Blackberries can help maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Blackberries have a phenomenal potassium to sodium ratio and may fight hypertension. They are well known because of its high potassium content. One cup of blackberries contains 114 milligrams of potassium, compared to 1.5 milligrams of sodium. This helps the blood vessels relax and maintains a proper blood pressure.
A research study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that eating just one cup of strawberries or blueberries each week can reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure. The study found that men and women who ate the highest amount of anthocyanin from blueberries and strawberries had an eight percent reduced risk of developing high blood pressure, compared to participants who ate foods with the least amount of anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is a power antioxidant that can be found in blackberries as well.
4. Blackberries could help maintain bone quality.
Blackberries are an excellent source of vitamin K, which functions in retaining calcium in the bone matrix and help prevent osteoporosis. Sufficient vitamin K consumption may also reduce urinary excretion of calcium. One cup of blackberries contains 36 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin K.
Research published in the Journal of Functional Foods investigated if antioxidant-rich blackberries can help prevent smoking-induced bone loss. The results showed that the phenolic compounds in blackberries but not blueberries modestly protected against smoking-induced bone loss in postmenopausal smokers.
5. Blackberries could help protect your skin from sun damage.
Blackberries are an excellent source of ellagic acid. Ellagic acid is a phytonutrient that could help safeguard the skin from ultraviolet (UV) damage. Research published in the journal of Experimental Dermatology found that ellagic acid slowed down the toxicity of UV-B of skin cells. UV-B is the main caused of skin reddening and sunburn when a person stays outside in the sun too long. It plays a major role in the development of skin cancer like melanoma and a contributory role in tanning and premature aging.
Also, ellagic acid prevented collagen degradation by blocking the production of an enzyme called metalloproteinase. Collagen is the main structural protein in skin and helps the skin keep its strength and elasticity.
6. Blackberries can help individuals fight infections.
One cup of blackberries contains 24 percent of the vitamin C daily requirements. Vitamin C is a powerful natural water-soluble antioxidant that helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and eliminates cancer-causing free radicals in the body.
The ellagic acid in blackberries can also rapidly disrupt the growth of certain types of bacteria and fungi in the body along with anthocyanins.
7. Blackberries can assist in energy production and antioxidant defense.
One cup of blackberries contains 25 percent of the mineral manganese, which is an essential cofactor in some enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses. For example, some enzymes disarm free radicals produced within the mitochondria (the energy production factories within our cells), which require manganese.