What Are the Benefits of Blackberry Fruit?
Like other berries, blackberries are commonly eaten out of hand. You can also use these versatile fruits in baked goods, add them to fruit or vegetable salads or turn them into jellies or sauces. Mix blackberries with apples, kiwi and strawberries to make a delicious fruit salsa you can eat with chips, use to top ice cream or other desserts or use as a condiment with meat or seafood. Blackberries are a good source of fiber and essential vitamins and minerals and have a number of potential health benefits.
A 1-cup serving of blackberries contains 62 calories, 1 gram of fat, 2 grams of protein and 14 grams of carbohydrates, including 8 grams of dietary fiber. This is 32 percent of the daily requirement for fiber, which helps keep you feeling full for longer and limits your risk for diverticulitis, constipation and heart disease.
Eating a cup of blackberries provides you with 30 milligrams of vitamin C, or 50 percent of the daily requirement; 29 micrograms of vitamin K, or 36 percent of the daily requirement; and 36 micrograms of folate, or 9 percent of the daily requirement. Vitamin C is essential for repairing cells, preventing cell damage from free radicals and healing wounds; vitamin K is necessary for proper blood clotting; and folate is important for preventing neural tube birth defects and forming DNA and red blood cells. This serving of blackberries also contains 7 percent of the daily requirement for magnesium and potassium; 6 percent of the daily need for vitamins A and E; and 5 percent of the daily requirement for iron, zinc and niacin.
Adding more blackberries and other berries to your diet may lower your risk for cancer, according to a study published in December 2006 in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.” Blackberry extract and other berry extracts inhibited the growth of cancer cells in laboratory tests, with increasing amounts of berry extracts further increasing the degree of inhibition.
The vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber in blackberries may help to lower your risk for heart disease, according to an article published in “Nutrition Reviews” in 2010. Potential mechanisms for this decreased risk include limiting inflammation and oxidative stress through an increase in antioxidants in the blood and limiting the buildup of cholesterol in the arteries because of the anthocyanin content of the berries. Anthocyanins are the phytochemicals that give blackberries their dark color.
Blackberry consumption may also limit a decline in cognitive function as you age, although the results are preliminary. A study published in June 2009 in “Nutritional Neuroscience” found that rats given blackberries as 2 percent of their diet performed better on short-term memory tests than rats not fed blackberries as part of their diet.