Health Benefits of Blackberries

While many fruits deliver a wonderful combination of nutrition and flavor, few provide as many impressive health benefits as blackberries.

Sometimes confused with black raspberries, these tasty morsels represent a diverse group of berries from the Rubus species. If you’re struggling to tell the two apart, remember this: when raspberries are picked, the stem remains on the plant and leaves a hollow. With blackberries, the stem stays on the fruit. 

Humans have enjoyed blackberries for thousands of years. Preserved remains of the berry were even found in the body of a Danish woman from 2,500 years ago.

Today, we enjoy access to a wide variety of blackberries, including not only wild and domesticated versions, but also varieties categorized as trailing, erect, and semi-erect. Trailing berries typically require a trellis, while erect versions grow vertically.

Many hybrid versions of blackberries exist, such as the loganberry. Some versions are sweeter or tangier than others, but all provide a significant dose of vitamins and antioxidants.

Health Benefits

The antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals found in blackberries deliver a variety of health benefits. Antioxidants such as anthocyanins hold many anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. They may also combat diabetes and certain kinds of cancer.

Other health benefits of blackberries include:

Improved digestion. Blackberries are an excellent source of insoluble fiber. Fiber plays an important role in the digestive process by increasing the bulk of stools to make them easier to pass. A diet high in fiber can ease constipation, which is the most common gastrointestinal issue in the U.S. Regular bowel movements play a critical role in maintaining colon health.

Diabetes Management

Blackberries are one of several types of berries believed to have a positive impact on insulin resistance and triglyceride levels. As such, researchers view blackberries as beneficial for diabetes management, especially if eaten fresh or frozen. 

Reduced Risk of Obesity

Research suggests that an increased intake of blackberries may address obesity by increasing insulin sensitivity and helping the body burn fat more effectively.

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Nutrition

Blackberries are a great source of antioxidants. These include anthocyanins, which are responsible for the rich colors in several red, purple, and blue foods.

Blackberries are also an excellent source of:

Nutrients per Serving

A one-cup serving of raw blackberries contains:

How to Prepare Blackberries

The standard blackberry season differs between locations. In general, however, US blackberries ripen between June and August. At the supermarket, fresh blackberries are most plentiful between May and September.

Blackberries can be found in most grocery stores and farmer's markets. Some farms allow visitors to pick their own blackberries and pay for them by the pound. 

When picking blackberries, look for plump, firm berries with a deep black color. Be wary of thorns. If you plan on growing your own blackberries, consider investing in one of the many thornless varieties currently available.

Here are a few fun ways to incorporate blackberries into your diet:

  • Toss with romaine lettuce and goat cheese to sweeten your salad.
  • Combine with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries to make a delicious fruit salad.
  • Enjoy as a healthy topping for ice cream or frozen yogurt.
  • Add alongside yogurt, milk, and other fruits to create a smoothie.
  • Mix with granola, yogurt, and lemon in a parfait.
  • Use as a filling in pie.
  • Include alongside sugar snap peas and red wine vinegar in chicken stir fry.
  • Add to green beans and top with oregano.
  • Sprinkle with basil and Italian sausage on pizza.
  • Blend with cabernet to create a tangy sauce for salmon.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on August 31, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

BBC Travel: A 2000-Year-Old Unsolved Mystery

Food & Function: "Dietary Berries, Insulin Resistance And Type 2 Diabetes — An Overview of Human Feeding Trials."

Food and Nutrition Research: "Anthocyanidins and Anthocyanins — Colored Pigments as Food, Pharmaceutical Ingredients, and the Potential Health Benefits"

Harvard T.H. Chan—The Nutrition Source: "Fiber.”

Nutrients: "Blackberry Feeding Increases Fat Oxidation and Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Overweight and Obese Males."

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