Blackberry season is not far off and, for me, the memories of my grandmother’s blackberry jam always comes to mind. She loved to pick berries and was one of the best berry jam makers that I have ever known. The health benefits of blackberries are numerous. While at their peak season, blackberries are a very nutritious snack or dessert. In fact, just one cup of fresh blackberries contains 62 calories, 1 gram of fat, 15 carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein and only 1 mg of sodium. Blackberries can be a healthy and delicious addition to smoothies, teas, pies, cobblers, jams, cakes, etc.
Blackberries are high in gallic acid, rutin and ellagic acid, a known chemopreventative, with anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. With their dark blue color, blackberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels of fruits regularly tested. What this means for people who eat blackberries is that they are eating a fruit that is known to prevent or reduce the risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer, pancreatic cancer, and gastrointestinal cancer. Folate is another very important vitamin found in blackberries. Folate has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Most people are surprised to learn that blackberries contain heart healthy Omega 3 fatty acids.
- High in Vitamin C and fiber both of which have been shown to help reduce the risks of certain cancers.
- Contains high levels of anthocyanins (83-326 mg/ 100g) which work as antioxidants to help fight free radical damage in the body and give berries their deep dark color.
- The antioxidant level of foods can be measured as ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity). The ORAC value of Evergreen blackberries is 28 µmoles/TE/g, slightly higher than blueberries.
- Evergreen blackberries contain ellagic acid, a phenolic compound shown to have anti-carcinogen, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. The ellagic acid levels of Evergreen blackberries is 3.69 mg/g of dry weight.
Health Benefits of Blackberries
- helps fight free radicals
- antibacterial properties
- beneficial for intestinal inflammation
- may help infections
- may relieve hemorrhoids
- heart protective
- low in calories
- high in fiber and nutrients
- antioxidant activity
- contains anthocyanin compounds
- positive impact on motor & cognitive skills
- helps short-term memory
- antiviral properties
- helps periodontal health
- rich in bioflavonoids
- promotes healthy tightening of tissue
- soothes the effects of diarrhea
- juice can also be used to regulate menstruation
- vitamin K content aids in muscle relaxing
- ellagic acid content is cancer preventative
- may lower cholesterol
- contains Omega 3 fatty acids
Refreshing Blackberry Tea Recipe
(adapted from Southern Living)
3 Cups organic blackberries, fresh or frozen
1 Cup organic sugar or raw honey
4 Cups boiling purified water
2 family sized organic tea bags
2 ½ Cups cold purified water
extra blackberries for garnish
1. In a large container combine blackberries & sugar. Use a wooden spoon & smash sugar & berries together.
2. Add 4 cups boiling water to the 2 family sized tea bags. Let tea steep for 3 minutes. Discard tea bags.
3. Pour tea over blackberry mixture & let stand 1 hour. Stir to dissolve sugar.
4. Pour tea mixture through a wire mesh strainer into a 2 quart pitcher. (Discard the crushed solids, or save for another use, such as adding to a smoothie.) Pour the cold water into the tea. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Garnish with extra berries or mint if desired. Enjoy!
References and Research
Marshall G. Miller, Barbara Shukitt-Hale. Berry Fruit Enhances Beneficial Signaling in the Brain. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2012; 120203155528007 DOI: 10.1021/jf2036033
Riso P, Klimis-Zacas D, Del Bo’ C, Martini D, Campolo J, Vendrame S, Møller P, Loft S, De Maria R, Porrini M. Effect of a wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) drink intervention on markers of oxidative stress, inflammation and endothelial function in humans with cardiovascular risk factors. Eur J Nutr. 2013 Apr;52(3):949-61. doi: 10.1007/s00394-012-0402-9. Epub 2012 Jun 26.
Arpita Basu, Mei Du, Misti J. Leyva, Karah Sanchez, Nancy M. Betts, Mingyuan Wu, Christopher E. Aston,Timothy J. Lyons. Blueberries Decrease Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Obese Men and Women with Metabolic Syndrome. J. Nutr. September 1, 2010 vol. 140 no. 9 1582-1587.
Neto CC. Cranberry and blueberry: evidence for protective effects against cancer and vascular diseases. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007;51:652–64.