What Are Blackberries?
Blackberries are an edible fruit that comes from the Rosaceae family of plants. This berry is a popular fruit grown in parts of America (although some species are considered invasive species or noxious weeds in parts of the Pacific North West) and across Central America, Europe, South America, and Australasia. Mexico is the largest producer of blackberries in the world.
Blackberries are tasty and packed with health benefits, making them a great fruit to add to your diet as a raw snack or part of a recipe. They look a little like a black raspberry. However, the difference is that, when harvested, the stalk comes with the fruit. Raspberry stalks are left behind, and the berry itself is hollow.
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Top 7 Healthy Benefits
Here are seven excellent health benefits of blackberries – each one a compelling reason to introduce them into meals and snacks for your week.
The blackberry is simply one of the healthiest fruits you can eat. They are full of natural goodness and have many essential nutrients and vitamins, all are very good for your health. So, if you enjoy eating delicious blackberry jam or pie, pat yourself on the back. This is an excellent antioxidant fruit to incorporate into your diet.
The berries are one of the richest sources of antioxidants you can find. They have a very high ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value and can supply your body with a whopping 2036 units of antioxidants per 100 grams.
Ripe berries are packed with powerful antioxidants like polyphenols and anthocyanins. Antioxidants, as you know, are very essential for your body. They fight and neutralize free radicals. These can cause severe damage to your health. According to research institutes, regular intake of antioxidants can reduce the risk of several diseases, including cancer.
Blackberries are rich in salicylate, a natural analgesic (pain reliever). It can help reduce the risk of heart disease significantly. They are also rich in vitamin E. Vitamin E is yet another powerful antioxidant that can fight the free radicals in the body.
More importantly, vitamin E can prevent skin-related problems caused by free radicals. Wrinkles, dark spots, and other such skin problems are usually caused by the action of free radicals on the skin. By eating blackberries regularly, you can avoid these problems. In addition, blackberries contain lots of vitamin C and can help boost your immune system.
One cup of blackberries contains around 28.5 micrograms of vitamin K, which is 32% of a woman’s recommended daily intake of the vitamin. Vitamin K is essential for maintaining your blood health. It’s a vital blood clotting component, helping to ensure you don’t bleed excessively from minor injuries and improving your healing time. Studies have also shown that it can benefit your bone strength too.
Have Anti-Cancer Properties
While no foods can prevent cancer, some can help to minimize the risk of quickly growing cancer cells once they exist in the body. The antioxidants in blackberries – specifically, the anthocyanins, have been shown to contain properties that can help stop cancer cells from growing and reproducing quickly.
Blackberries are a rich source of vitamin A one of the essential vitamins in supporting your immune system. The berry can help you fight infections and illnesses, keeping you healthier and happier. Vitamin A has other benefits – it can improve your sight and maintain the healthy growth of your teeth, bones, and skin cells.
Many people assume that “fiber” is always good for your digestive system, but that’s incorrect. There are two types of fiber– soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber helps support healthy digestion, while soluble fiber is more helpful with lowering blood sugar levels.
Blackberries are rich in both – they’re great for diabetics and keep your digestive system working as it should.
Aid in Weight Management
Eating blackberries as a snack is a great way to get that sugary kick your sweet tooth craves without all the calories. Making them an excellent choice for helping with weight loss. One cup of raw blackberries contains 75 calories and less than 1 gram of fat.
Also, that soluble fiber isn’t just good for lowering blood sugar but also cholesterol, so if you’ve struggled with your diet in the past and are concerned about the impact of fatty foods on your body, blackberries can help undo some of that damage.
Some studies have shown that eating blackberries can boost the health of your brain. The antioxidants in blackberries can alter how the neurons in your brain communicate and reduce inflammation. This helps to prevent any issues that can come with aging, including loss of cognitive or motor functions.
Blackberry Nutrition & Health Information
Blackberries are exceptionally nutritious.
One cup of blackberries is around 150g, contains 75 calories, one gram of protein, half a gram of fat, 18 grams of carbohydrates, around 8 grams of fiber, and is packed full of antioxidants. In short – it is one of the healthiest
foods you can eat.
Amazingly, the entire blackberry plant is full of valuable nutrients. Its stem, leaves, and roots contain tannic acid, a natural analgesic. The leaves, roots, and outer parts of the stems are usually dried and used to make tea with great medicinal value. Animals love to eat the whole plant too.
Blackberries should be stored in the refrigerator until eaten. If your fridge has a low-humidity crisper drawer, make sure to put the blackberries here – you want as little moisture as possible to reach the fruit, as that will cause mold to grow.
In addition, do not wash them until you want to eat them. Even if you meticulously pat them dry, they will retain extra moisture on the surface.
Make sure you store blackberries in a vented container too. They produce ethylene, a hormone that will over-ripen the fruit if stored in a sealed container.
How To Grow Blackberries
Blackberry canes – the long branches of the plant – deliver fruit after two years. If you’re growing from a transplant, wait until late fall or early spring in the first year of the cane, when it is dormant. Check the plants for damage and trim before transplanting. Then prune the canes until they are around 4 inches tall.
Tip rooting is when a cane grows in an arch and plants itself into the soil, setting new roots. You can manipulate this to make it happen and develop your blackberry bush. Select a cane with the season’s growth, and then dig a hole around 2 feet from the plant crown. Trim the new canes of foliage then arch it down into the hole, securing it with pins if needed. In six to eight weeks, you should see new growth.
Growing blackberries from cuttings is easy. Trim around 4-6 inches of a firm and succulent cane stem, and place it in a moist soil mix. Keep it misted and shaded, and within four weeks new roots should develop.
If you’re growing from bare roots (or stools) be sure to soak it before planting. Bury the root up to the old soil line and ensure it’s firm, then water it well again. You should leave around 5 feet between each planted root.
Blackberry Plant Care
Blackberry fruit will grow on two-year-old canes or second-year canes, so keep older and newer canes separate. That helps to prevent fungus from transferring from older to newer ones. In the first spring after planting, cut any old canes back to soil level, and once a cane has been harvested, it can be cut back to the soil too. In addition, every few years, in winter, add some well-rotted compost or manure to the root area.
Ways To Enjoy Blackberries
- Blackberry Smoothies
A great way to enjoy this fresh fruit is in smoothies. Fresh blackberries mixed with other berries can create a nutritious and delicious drink – make sure to add some yogurt to help take the edge off the acidity of the berries.
- Blackberries Fresh
It is suggested that you eat blackberries raw, as cooking can break down some valuable nutrients present in them. Since they
are full of natural fructose sugars, ripe berries are delicious. So, add blackberries to your everyday meal and
enjoy their natural goodness.
- Blackberry Pies
A blackberry pie is a classic dessert, and while it’s not the healthiest option, it is beautiful to look at, even better to taste, and a true crowd-pleaser at dinner. All you need is your favorite sweet pastry recipe, some fresh or frozen blackberries (so you can enjoy this all year round), sugar, and flour. Adding cinnamon or lemon juice is also recommended in some recipes.
Are blackberries safe for everyone?
Blackberries are safe for most people, although some can be allergic to them. It’s much rarer than with some other fruits, especially considering how similar blackberries and strawberries are.
If you are allergic to blackberries, you’ll probably notice an itchy mouth and a scratchy throat, potentially with some swelling. As rare as it is to be allergic to blackberries, it’s even more rare for it to be serious. However, if you’re concerned, you should check with your doctor.
What do blackberries do for your body?
Blackberries can help improve many bodily functions and prevent illnesses and diseases. They are rich in antioxidants, which fight the free radicals in your body, and are a great source of some essential vitamins.
Eating blackberries can help improve your digestive and immune systems, keep your brain healthy, help manage your weight, and more.
What happens if you eat too many blackberries?
Blackberries contain sugar, so eating too many is not the best for dental health. Other potential side effects of eating too many blackberries are heartburn, acid reflux, and diarrhea. You may also feel nauseous from too much of this sweet food.
The recommended amount is one cup per day to maintain a healthy balance.
Are blackberries a superfood?
Berries, in general, are considered a superfood, so yes, blackberries fall into that category. Superfoods are any foods that offer the maximum nutritional benefit for the minimum calories – so any foods packed with good nutrients and antioxidants that won’t cause you to pile on weight.
Blackberries are an excellent superfood, as they are low in calories but have a wide range of health benefits.
How many blackberries should you eat a day?
It’s recommended to eat around 3oz (approximately 80g) of blackberries per day – this counts as one portion and will give you the right amount of nutrients to help improve your health, as long as you keep them as a regular part of your diet.
If you are partial to the taste of blackberries, then you should add them to your diet. They’re one of the healthiest foods you can eat, packed with nutrients, and have fantastic overall health benefits. Plus, they’re tasty too. So, matter how you prepare them – what’s not to love?