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Health Benefits of Blackberries

Not only do blackberries pack a powerful nutritional punch, they are also low in calories, carbohydrates, and fat, making blackberries one of the most beneficial fruits to include in a balanced diet.

Antioxidants

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in blackberries, and one cup of blackberries contains 50% of the daily recommendation of vitamin C. The body uses vitamin C for protection from immune system deficiencies, and vitamin C may lower the risk of developing heart disease, certain types of cancer, and macular degeneration. Vitamin C aids wound healing, and studies show vitamin C may actually lessen the appearance of wrinkles.

Like all berries, blackberries contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant that has been shown to protect the skin from ultraviolet damage. New research is finding that ellagic acid may not only protect the skin from damage, but also repair skin damaged by the sun. Also, according to the American Cancer Society, laboratory research has shown that ellagic acid may have anti-cancer properties.

Anthocyanins are what gives blackberries their dark color and have been shown to reduce inflammation. As an antioxidant, anthocyanins help fight free radicals in the body that destroy cells and lead to diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Phytoestrogens

Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring plant estrogens that may help relieve the common symptoms of PMS including bloating, food cravings, and may even provide relief for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. Phytoestrogens may also contribute to brain and immune functioning and heart health.

Fiber

Just one cup of blackberries contains 8 grams of fiber, meeting 31% of the daily recommended amount of fiber. Fiber promotes healthy digestion and can lower the risk of developing certain diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Research has also found that fiber aids weight loss and makes weight management easier.

Vitamin K

Blackberries are a good source of vitamin K, offering up 36% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin K. Vitamin K is used by the body for the normal clotting of blood and to aid the absorption of calcium.

Other Nutrients in Blackberries

Blackberries also contain the following percentage of daily recommendations of these vitamins and minerals in just one cup:

  • Calcium: 4%
  • Iron: 5%
  • Magnesium: 7%
  • Phosphorus: 3%
  • Potassium: 7%
  • Zinc: 5%
  • Copper: 12%
  • Manganese: 47%
  • Selenium: 1%
  • Vitamin A: 6%
  • Vitamin E: 8%
  • Folate: 9%

One cup of blackberries also contains 135mg of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Blackberries are available in the grocery store year-round and can be eaten plain as a snack or used in a variety of dishes including jams, pies, pancakes and cobblers or used as an ingredient in a fruit smoothie.

References:

Duyff, R. (2006). American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18 (2008.) Accessed June 29, 2009 from USDA.gov.

Ward, E. (2006). Aging Well: Eating Right for Longevity. Accessed June 29, 2009 from Wedmd.com.

Zelman, K. (2008). Vitamin C Benefits to Your Health. Accessed June 29, 2009 from Medicine.net.

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If you feel that you have a health problem, you should seek the advice of your Physician or health care Practitioner.

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