Blackberry is a dark black, juicy fruit that natively belongs to Northern Temperate regions. It originated from sub-Arctic Europe, but now it is widely grown in all the temperate regions across the globe. Blackberries are actually aggregate fruits or collection of small, round berry like structures called drupelets. These drupelets are individual segments that are covered by a thin layer of skin and are fleshy, juicy and soft in nature. Blackberries grow as aggregates on erect, semi erect, or trailing type bushes and vines. Each berry consists of approx 80-100 drupelets.
Blackberries come from the family of Dewberry and Raspberry. This Rosaceae family fruit apart from being delicious is a store of many health benefits including better digestion, better heart function, cancer prevention
, healthy skin and hair, better eye vision and much more. Many recent researches have contributed to the fact that blackberries have high potential to prevent and cure various ailments.
Health Benefits of Blackberries
Blackberries are sweet and delicious fruit that is immensely beneficial for maintaining good health. They are a helpful resource to fight and prevent various disease conditions, which are as follows:
- Cancer: Blackberries being rich in phenolic compounds such as ellagic acids and having high content of flavonoids such as anthocyanins possess anti-carcinogenic properties. Due to their antioxidant nature, they help damage the free radicals present in the body, thus preventing the root cause of cancer development. Blackberries are found to be effective against various types of cancers such as lung cancer, colon cancer, skin cancer and esophageal cancer among others. Also, high quantities of various micro-nutrients and vitamins prevent the development of tumors and inhibit the growth of cancerous cells. This property of protection against oxidative damage is vital in the cure of many other diseases.
- Neural dysfunctions: Researches have found that regular consumption of blackberries help in improving memory and also curing different neural dysfunctions. It helps in improving the cognitive functions of the body through the polyphenolic compounds that are present in it.
- Impaired digestion: High content of fiber and various vitamins in blackberries contribute to better digestive health. It contains both soluble and insoluble fiber that ensures better absorption of water, minerals and nutrients in the intestines, thereby improving the digestive functions altogether.
- Cardio vascular anomalies: Regular intake of blackberries makes the functioning of heart better. Due to high amount of anthocyanins, it extends great antioxidant properties that reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It also contains dietary fiber and magnesium in large quantities that prevent the blockage of blood vessels and allow unimpaired blood flow, thereby reducing the possibility of getting heart stroke and cardiac arrythemia. Also high content of Vitamin C helps in lowering the risk of many heart related problems.
- Bacterial and viral infections: Attributing to the substantial contents of phytoestrogens, vitamins and minerals blackberries have great efficiency in fighting various bacterial and viral infections. Presence of ellagic acids also contributes to its anti pathogenic activities. Thus blackberries help in improving and enhancing immunity of the body and protect it from various microbial infections.
- Obesity: Blackberries are high in fiber content as well as low in sugar and cholesterol. Such a nutrient profile of blackberries makes them efficient weight controllers. Eat a cup of it as a regular snack or make a salad for a healthy weight control regime.
- Skin aging: Various skin conditioning nutrients like Vitamin C, A, K and E present in blackberries give bright and rejuvenated skin. Vitamin C helps to keeps skin tight and toned by strengthening and protecting the collagen from damaging. Vitamin E present in blackberries keep skin glowing and prevents skin from wrinkles and other oxidative damage. Also, the tannins present in blackberry leaves could be used as natural astringent on wounds that help in blood clotting.
- Eye sight: Blackberries play a vital role in improving eye health. The vitamins present in it, especially Vitamin A, protect eyes from diseases like cataract and night blindness; it enhances vision and keeps eyes healthy. Blackberries also consist of Lutein which protects against the harmful ultra violet rays and prevents eye damage.
- Pregnancy and women health: Due to its high nutrition parameters, blackberries are very beneficial to pregnant and lactating women. Folic acid and other vital micronutrients are important to be included in diet during pregnancy. These vitamins and minerals are abundantly present in blackberries that help in formation and growth of tissues and reduce the risk of birth defects. It also boosts immunity and strengthens bones keeping the expecting mother healthy and infection free.
- Also, phytoestrogens present in blackberries help in relief from PMS and menopause related symptoms.
- Diabetes: Blackberries are low on sugar content plus their high fiber nature makes them apt for sugar management in the body. The high fiber contributes to even sugar absorption while maintaining the proper digestive function. This keeps absorption of sugars balanced, which in turn controls sugar levels and the potassium present in blackberries regulates insulin levels in the body thus keeping diabetes away.
- Osteoporosis and Bone Diseases: Vitamin K present in blackberries helps in increasing calcium absorption that enhances the bone density and protects bones from osteoporosis.
Delicious Blackberry Recipes
Berries’ Juice RemixServings
: 2Preparation time
: 15 minIngredients
- 1 cup fresh blackberries
- 1 cup fresh raspberries/strawberries
- ˝ cup fresh blueberries
- Sliced lemon
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 cup water
Blend all the ingredients in a jar to a smooth mixture. Strain it over and serve in glasses with crushed ice and few lemon slices for the topping and enjoy this all berry drink.
Blackberry Spinach Salad With Blackberry Vinaigrette DressingServings
: 2-3Preparation time
: 15-20 minIngredients
- 8 cups chopped spinach leaves or mixed greens
- 100 gm cottage cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup walnuts or almonds, toasted
- 2 cups fresh blackberries
- Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup strained blackberry juice
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2-3 tsp lime/orange juice
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- For the salad: mix all the ingredients in a large salad bowl and toss it all over
- For the dressing: mix all the other ingredients together and stir it swiftly to get a good blend.
- Now pour the dressing all over the salad and serve.
Some Tips for Storage and Serving
- Fresh blackberries are best to be consumed immediately. However, they can be stored in refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
- Wash blackberries just before consumption otherwise they will become soggy and sticky.
- Frozen blackberries are good only for cooking preparations.
- Blackberries can be pureed and added to jelly, sorbets etc.
- They can also be added to cakes, muffins, pies and puddings to enhance the flavor.