Blackberry : What are the benefits?
What is Blackberry?
Blackberry is the delicious juicy fruit of a perennial plant belonging to the Rosaceae family. Blackberry is a versatile plant; fruit, leaf, and roots are used to make medicines. The fruit is densely packed with valuable nutrients and has multiple health benefits. Blackberries contain meager amounts of carbohydrates and fat.
Key facts of Blackberry
- Blackberries are considered a ‘superfood’ due to their nutrition
- The tiny bubbles of blackberries are known as drupelets and have a sweet and tangy flavor
- Blackberry is native to Europe, but it is cultivated in the United States throughout the year
- All hybrid varieties of blackberries provide significant amounts of vitamins and minerals, although some may be sweeter or tangier than the other
- Blackberries have high commercial value due to their use in various food products
- Mexico is the largest exporter of blackberries
Nutrition in Blackberry
A cup of raw strawberries contains the following:
- Carbohydrate-14 gm (gram)
- Protein-2 gm
- Fat-below 1 gm
- Sugar-7 gm
- Fiber-8 gm
Blackberries are also a good source of the following
- It is essential for blood clotting
- It helps in wound healing and bone metabolism
- Vitamin A enhances the immune response and helps the body to fight infections
- It is responsible for producing the pigment in the retina of our eyes
- It helps in the bone’s collagen formation
- It helps regenerate the skin
- It decreases the free radicals in the body
- It protects the body from oxidative stress
- It helps maintain healthy eyes and skin
- It is essential for healthy bone development
- It also supports the body in processing carbohydrates and cholesterol
- It helps in blood clotting
- It helps in keeping our bones and teeth healthy
Glycemic Index in Blackberry
- Blackberries contain a low glycemic index(GI) of 25
- The glycemic index shows how each food one consumes affects the body’s blood glucose level
- A value equivalent to or lower than 55 is considered less likely to impact the body’s blood glucose level
Bioactives in Blackberry
- Phenolics are plant’s secondary metabolites involved in plant defense
- Secondary metabolites are natural compounds produced by plants
- Flavonoids are organic compounds in plants responsible for color and flavor.
- Anthocyanins are water-soluble red, blue, or purple pigments present in plants.
- Tannin is a natural water-soluble phenolic compound in the bark, fruits, and roots.
All the compounds mentioned above have antioxidant properties and protect the body against cell damage
Benefits of Blackberry
The health benefits of Blackberry are as follows:
- Boosts the brain health
- Supports oral health
- Regulates blood sugar level in diabetes
- Improves gut health
- Reduces inflammation
- Prevents heart disease
- Prevents cancer
- Prevents skin problems
Boosts the brain health
- Blackberry’s anthocyanin prevents age-related memory loss
- It reduces the brain inflammation
- It promotes the blood flow to the brain
- It improved the mental abilities and thinking capacity of mild dementia patients
However, more research is warranted to prove the effect of blackberries on brain health.
Supports oral health
- Blackberry extract prevents and controls the gum diseases
- It prevents the teeth cavities
Regulates blood sugar level
- The soluble fibers in Blackberry break down in the intestine and enter the bloodstream. It controls the body’s blood sugar level and helps in diabetes management.
- It lowers the cholesterol in the body
Improves gut health
- The insoluble fibers in blackberries pass through the digestive tract but do not get digested.
- It keeps the food and the waste moving
- It prevents constipation and stomach gas (flatulence)
- Blackberries reduce pain and swelling
- It helps the body to fight infection
- However, further research is wanted to prove the effect of blackberries on inflammation.
Prevents heart disease
- Anthocyanin in blackberries lowers the blood cholesterol
- It decreases the risk of plaque (fat deposit) formation in the arteries
However, further research is warranted to prove the effect of Blackberry on heart diseases.
- Blackberry’s anthocyanin nullifies the free radicals that damage our body’s DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)
- It prevents abnormal cell growth However, more research is wanted to prove the effect of Blackberry on cancer.
Prevents skin problems
- Blackberry’s phenolic compounds improve the body’s blood circulation
- It reduces pain and swelling caused due to blocked pores
Dosage of Blackberry
- The proper dose of Blackberry depends on factors such as the person’s age and medical condition.
- To date, there is inadequate scientific evidence to determine the appropriate dose of Blackberry.
- One must always keep in mind that natural products can also be harmful. Following the product label or consulting a healthcare professional before consuming is always advisable
Side effects of Blackberry
Blackberry is well tolerated by most people when consumed in food levels. However, some people might encounter the following side effects :
- Swelling in the lips, mouth, and tongue
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Breathing difficulty
- Rapid heartbeat
Precaution one should take while having Blackberry
- Nursing mothers, pregnant women, and young children should not consume the roots, stalk, and leaves of Blackberries due to the lack of information on the safety and efficiency of these groups.
- One should consume Blackberries in moderate amounts as excess consumption can lead to diarrhea in some people.
Who should avoid Blackberry
- People allergic to berries
- People allergic to aspirin drug
- People susceptible to kidney stones
- People with intestinal surgeries
- There is no information on the drug’s interaction with blackberries to date. However, people with medical conditions must consult a healthcare professional before taking them as supplements.
Available forms of Blackberry
Blackberry is available in the following forms:
- Raw fruit
- Capsule form
- Tablet form
- Powder form
Usage of Blackberry
Picking & buying of Blackberry
- One should pick blackberries that are deep black, firm, and shiny.
- One should collect in several small containers instead of a single large one to avoid crushing the drupelets.
- Blackberries are available in grocery stores, farmer’s markets, or supermarkets between May to September.
Tips for incorporating Blackberry into the diet
- To make a salad, one can combine it with raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries.
- Add it as toppings for ice cream and yogurt
- Use it in pies as fillings
- Can use blackberries alongside peas and vinegar in chicken fries.
- Mix it with lemon and yogurt in frozen desserts
- One can add milk and other fruits to smoothies
- Have it with goat cheese and Roman lettuce to make a sweet salad
- One can add to green beans and top with oregano
- Sprinkle with Italian sausage and basil on pizza
- One can blend it with red wine grapes (Cabernet) to make a tangy sauce for salmon
Storage of Blackberry
- One should keep blackberries in a closed container in a refrigerator or a cool place.
- One should consume it within three days as it has less self-life.
- Blackberry is a nutritious fruit with many health good nesses
- More research studies are needed to support some of the benefits of Blackberry.
- Blackberries are easy to add to one’s diet, but one should always consume them in a balanced manner with other fruits
- One interested in including blackberry supplement in one’s diet must consult a healthcare professional to know the exact dose and to prevent unwanted side effects