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Blackberries – Health Benefits, Nutrition

Blackberries are fruits that can be consumed by humans. It can be produced by any of the over 350 species belonging to the Rubus genus from the Rosaceae family. Botanically, the fruit cannot be termed as a true berry, as it is considered as an aggregate fruit that consist of many tiny drupelets. The plants generally tend to have perennial roots and biennial stalks. Blackberries as well as raspberries are often referred to as brambles or craneberries.

Blackberries tend to grow wild and are harvested in most of the temperate zones such as the mid-south United States, the northern states, especially Washington State and Oregon and southern parts of British Columbia. They can also be found in northern Canada just away from the Arctic latitudes. Every continent with temperate zones is home to commercial cultivation of blackberries.

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History of Blackberries

Blackberries have grown in Europe for many centuries. In the North American continent, blackberries were used by Native Indians. Thus, when the United States and Canada were colonized, the folklore and practices associated with blackberries survived on either side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Till as late as the sixteenth century infections of the eyes and mouth were treated with the use of blackberry juice in Europe. The bark obtained from blackberry brambles was powdered and used to alleviate toothaches in the Pacific Northwest. As per the information provided by the First Nations tribes in British Columbia and Washington State, blackberry leaves were ground into tea, which was then consumed to treat vomiting and help digestion of food. Medicinal preparations made from blackberry roots have been used to treat dysentery.

Till very recently, the human population did not know about the potent antioxidant properties of blackberries, but once it was known, its consumption rapidly gained in popularity.

Health benefits of Blackberries

Blackberries are rich in antioxidants such as gallic acid, vitamin C, etc and thus promote the overall health of the body. Antioxidants are vital to the clearance of free radicals present in the body, as free radicals can cause cell membrane and DNA damage.

  • Phytochemical ellagic acid naturally occurs in blackberries. This acid is known to inhibit the growth of malignant tumors as well as kill cancerous cells in the body. In addition, it suppresses the adverse effects of estrogen on breast cancer.
  • Blackberries contain both insoluble and soluble fibers and thus aid the health of the digestive system
  • They have abundant quantities of Vitamin C and research has proved that high levels of the vitamin can essentially fight and prevent colds
  • Blackberries consumption can aid the lowering of LDL levels and thus controls the cholesterol levels in the body. They also have magnesium that aids the relaxation of blood vessels and cardiac arteries. This facilitates the smooth flow of oxygen rich blood to the heart and thus promotes overall cardiovascular health.
  • Its consumption is known to aid weight loss, as it curbs hunger and prevents overeating.
  • Studies suggest that the fruit plays a role in the prevention of gout.

Side effects of Blackberries

  • There is not much information on the side effects of blackberry consumption. However, individuals who are allergic to berries must consult a doctor before consuming blackberries.
  • People with sensitive stomachs may experience vomiting, nausea and other gastrointestinal problems after the intake of blackberries

Blackberries-Nutritional information

Here is the nutritional information of blackberries as per Wikipedia

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 180 kJ (43 kcal)
Carbohydrates 9.61
Sugars 4.88
Dietary fiber 5.3
Fat 0.49
Protein 1.39
Water 88.15
Vitamin A 214 IU
beta-carotene 128 μg (1%)
lutein and zeaxanthin 118 μg
Vitamin C 21 mg (25%)
Vitamin E 1.17 mg (8%)
Vitamin K 20 μg (19%)
Calcium 29 mg (3%)
Iron 0.62 mg (5%)
Magnesium 20 mg (6%)
Manganese 0.6 mg (29%)
Potassium 162 mg (3%)
Sodium 1 mg (0%)
Zinc 0.53 mg (6%)

 

 

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