Health Benefits of Wild Berries

Strawberries and blueberries are two types of berry found in every grocery store’s produce section, but there are many more varieties of this powerful superfood. Wild berries grow in wooded areas, meadows, and around the edges of pastures all over the United States. They are rich in a variety of key nutrients and antioxidants.

Health Benefits

Wild berries are abundant in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which provide important health benefits. The most nutrient-dense varieties are elderberries and mulberries. Elderberries are commonly known for their powerful antiviral properties. Elderberry juice contains high concentrations of anthocyanins, which have been proven to fight influenza.

Mulberries are another wild berry with amazing health benefits. Plant compounds in mulberries have been studied for their potential effectiveness in preventing cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Heart Health

One of the plant compounds found in mulberries is anthocyanin, a flavonoid known for its health benefits. One study found that mulberry extract effectively lowered the formation of oxidative LDL cholesterol, the primary factor in atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

Breast Cancer Prevention

Elderberries also contain anthocyanins. In addition to the widely recognized antiviral properties of elderberry extract, this same compound could help prevent breast cancer development. The anti-cancer activities of elderberry anthocyanins were tested against breast cancer cells with promising results.

Diabetes  Management

Raspberries may be beneficial in treating glucose levels and inflammation in adults with diabetes. In one study, adults with type-2 diabetes were given raspberry supplements for ten weeks. There was a significant improvement in serum glucose levels, triglycerides, and inflammatory markers.

Nutrition

Wild berries of all varieties are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Blackberries, raspberries, mulberries, and elderberries are excellent sources of:

  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin C
  • Phosphorous
  • Magnesium

Nutrients per Serving

A 100 gram serving of wild blackberries contains:

Portion Sizes

Wild berries are low in calories, with less than 100 calories in a 100-gram serving. One cup of berries weighs around 150 grams. 

How to Prepare Wild Berries

The best way to enjoy wild berries is raw and freshly picked. Rinse thoroughly and drain. Fresh berries can be kept in the refrigerator and last about a week. Fresh berries are delicious in fruit smoothies. Start with a banana and a cup of Greek yogurt in a blender pitcher. Add two cups of berries and blend, adding water to achieve a smooth, creamy consistency. 

Continued

You can keep berries for up to three months in the freezer. Frozen berries are great in smoothies and can also be used to make pies, cobblers, and syrups.

Easy raspberry syrup for pancakes:

Combine 2 cups of sugar and ½ cup water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add 2 cups of fresh or frozen raspberries. Stir and cook about 5 minutes until sugar is fully dissolved. Drain the syrup by placing a cheesecloth in a strainer. Let the berries sit in the strainer for an hour. Pour the strained liquid back into the saucepan and reduce it by half.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 19, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

FoodData Central (U.S. Department of Agriculture): “Blackberries, wild, raw.”

National Institutes of Health: “A Comprehensive Study on the Biological Activity of Elderberry Extract and Cyanidin 3-O-Glucoside and Their Interactions with Membranes and Human Serum Albumin.”

National Institutes of Health: “Inhibitory activity of a standardized elderberry liquid extract against clinically-relevant human respiratory bacterial pathogens and influenza A and B viruses.”

National Library of Medicine: “A Comprehensive Study on the Biological Activity of Elderberry Extract and Cyanidin 3-O-Glucoside and Their Interactions with Membranes and Human Serum Albumin.”

National Library of Medicine: “Mulberry anthocyanin extracts inhibit LDL oxidation and macrophage-derived foam cell formation induced by oxidative LDL.”

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