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Blackberries Health Benefits
The blackberry fruit is actually made up of several smaller fruits known as drupes. A drupe consists of a fleshy external portion around a seed. Blackberries can be of two types, erect and trailing. Erect blackberries have self-supporting canes which are firm and arching, while trailing blackberries have canes which do not support themselves. Erect blackberries are better able to withstand cold climate.
Blackberries nutritional benefits are due to polyphenol antioxidants which are known to play a significant role in preventing heart disease, cancer and oxidative stress. Consumption of blackberries for hair growth is also helpful as antioxidants encourage hair growth. Studies also show that blackberries can diminish the risk of esophageal cancer. Therefore, blackberries are good for smokers and teenagers. The fruits are low in carbohydrate and fat content and hence many doctors and nutritionists recommend blackberries for weight loss diets. The vitamin C in blackberries helps in strengthening the immune system and may also be instrumental in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, macular degeneration and some forms of cancer. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that also delays the process of ageing and helps in proper healing of wounds. A cup of blackberries constitutes about 50 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. All types of berries contain ellagic acid which is known to protect the skin from sun damage. It also helps in the repair of skin. There is even some research which states that ellagic acid may help in fighting cancer. Blackberries get their characteristic dark color due to anthocyanins which are known to decrease inflammation. They also combat the effects of free radicals and hence protect the cells from damage and disease. Another component in blackberries is phytoestrogens which are beneficial for women since they ease premenstrual stress and also alleviate the unpleasant side effects of menopause. Even the immune system, heart and brain are strengthened due to the effects of phytoestrogens.
Many individuals consume blackberries for constipation and digestion related problems. This is because they contain high amounts of fiber. There is up to 8 grams of fiber contained in a cup of blackberries and this fulfills 31 percent of the recommended daily intake. You can even consume blackberries for diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues. Blackberries for diabetes are often recommended because of their fiber content. Fiber helps in lowering bad cholesterol levels and hence is beneficial for those with diabetes and hypertension. Consumption of blackberries for heart problems is also beneficial. Fiber also plays an important role in weight reduction. Blackberries are a great source of vitamin K and you can expect to get about 36 percent of the daily recommended intake of the vitamin in just one cup of berries. This vitamin aids in proper clotting and also enables better absorption of calcium. Some of the other nutrients contained in blackberries include iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc, manganese, copper, selenium, folate, potassium, phosphorous and the vitamins A and E. Blackberries are also a valuable source of omega 3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats. Blackberries for gout relief have been common since ancient times due to the presence of flavonoids. Gout results in inflammation, swelling and pain in the joints due to uric acid deposits. Further buildup of uric acid can also result in kidney stones. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to developing the condition, but because blackberries contain vitamin C, they help to keep uric acid levels in check and hence alleviate gout symptoms.
The health benefits of blackberries during pregnancy are quite noteworthy. Blackberries and raspberries contain the B vitamin known as folate which helps in production of red blood cells. It also aids in growth and multiplication of cells. Folate is an essential nutrient during pregnancy as it helps to protect the developing baby from birth defects. Folate rich foods such as blackberries should be consumed by women who wish to conceive and pregnant women in the initial twelve weeks of pregnancy. In addition, folate should also be consumed through folic acid supplements. Therefore many doctors recommend blackberries for pregnant women. A particularly healthy snack for pregnant women is yogurt parfait which is made with low fat yogurt, granola and blackberries.
It is important to know the blackberries calorie count and value. There are 62 calories in 1 cup of blackberries, with 0.71 grams of fat, 13.83 grams of carbohydrates and 7 grams of fat. There are 73 calories in 6oz of blackberries.
Blackberry leaves are used to make blackberry tea which is also a beneficial remedy for many ailments. Inflammation of the throat and mouth can be alleviated by consuming the tea. Blackberry tea also supplies vitamins C and E and selenium and aids in controlling the levels of blood sugar. To prepare blackberry tea, take a heaped tablespoon of the dried leaves and add to a cup of boiling water. Cover and allow the leaves to steep in the water for about ten minutes. You can then strain the tea and add some honey or sugar. You can even add mint leaves to the tea for added flavor.
There are many other ways to incorporate blackberries into your daily diet. To get your fix of nutrients in the morning you can have blackberries for breakfast. Add a handful of the berries to your oatmeal or yogurt. The berries can also be used to make delicious jams and jellies. A fruit salad is one of the healthiest snacks and you can increase its nutritional value even more by adding some blackberries to it. Blackberries may be eaten either fresh or frozen. While buying blackberries, look for those which are plump and deeply colored. Avoid those which are bruised or spotted. Once you buy your blackberries, ensure that you keep them cool and dry. It is best to consume them within a couple of days. You can also freeze the fruits and use them later in puddings and cakes. Remember to wash the blackberries thoroughly before eating. Blackberries are naturally sweet, but some people prefer to add some sugar to reduce the slight sourness.
|Submitted on January 16, 2014|