Health Benefits of Eating Blackberries (Wild or Cultivated)


Whether you go for cultivated or wild blackberries, you will surely be giving yourself a health boost by eating these juicy black fruits. Here's a lowdown of the most interesting health benefits of blackberries:


Blackberries (Especially Marionberries) Are Loaded with Anthocyanins

In 2006, Chilean scientists published a study in the Latin American Archives of Nutrition comparing the antioxidant power of healthy foods, including 28 fruits and berries. In the fruit and berry category, only maqui berries were found to have more antioxidant capacity than blackberries. And for the skeptics out there: this study did in fact include a whole range of famous superfoods, from strawberries and raspberries to black grapes and plums.

Health Benefits of Blackberries

Blackberries' strong antioxidant properties don't come as a surprise, however. Blackberries (especially Marionberries which are a cross between 'Chehalem' and 'Olallie' blackberry cultivars) contain large amounts of anthocyanins, plant pigments that have been shown to exert extremely strong antioxidant properties in vitro.

Antioxidants from foods like blackberries help protect us from free radicals, unstable molecules that have been linked to the development of many degenerative diseases, including cancer, macular degeneration, diabetes, atherosclerosis, heart disease and stroke, thrombosis, Alzheimer's disease, and arthritis.


Blackberry Extracts Have Anti-Cancer Properties, Study Finds

Here's a tip for all those who are interested in preventing cancer through diet: eat more blackberries! Along with black and red raspberries, cultivated and wild blackberries are one of the world's best dietary sources of ellagic acid. In test tube studies, ellagic acid has been shown, among other things, to eliminate carcinogens from the body, to enhance the immune function, and to induce apoptosis of cancerous cells. Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2006 specifically analyzed the anti-cancer activity of extracts from six popular berries and found that all the tested berries, including blackberries, were capable of inhibiting the growth of human oral, breast, colon, and prostate tumor cell lines in vitro.

In another study, Croatian scientists found that also extracts from blackberry leaves had anti-cancer activity in test tubes. These findings echo the compelling results of other studies that have been conducted on the health benefits of blackberry leaf tea.


Eating Blackberries is Good for Your Skin

Many of the health benefits of blackberries can be attributed to their strong antioxidant properties, but the anthocyanins and other antioxidants in blackberries can also help keep your skin young-looking by neutralizing wrinkle-causing free radicals. In addition, blackberries are a wonderful source of vitamin C, with one cup of blackberries providing half of the Daily Value for this important anti-aging vitamin. Vitamin C helps your body form collagen and elastin, two structural proteins that give your skin support and elasticity.


Benefits for the Cardiovascular System

Every year, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) take hundreds of thousands of American lives. But a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that at least 200,000 deaths from cardiovascular diseases could be prevented every year.

Healthy eating habits, along with regular exercise, are one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In essence, a cardioprotective diet plan tells you to cut down on foods that are rich in salt or saturated fats and to eat more plant-based whole foods, particularly vegetables, fruits, and berries that are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin K. Not only are blackberries loaded with antioxidants, they are also loaded with fiber and vitamin K, which makes these juicy black berries a real gem for people who are looking to incorporate more 'heart-smart' foods into their diets.


References:
Hector Araya L., Carolina Clavijo R. and Claudia Herrera (2006). Capacidad antioxidante de frutas y verduras cultivados en Chile. Archivos Latinoamericanos de Nutricion (Latin American Archives of Nutrition), 56(4), 361-365.
Xianli Wu et al (2006). Concentrations of anthocyanins in common foods in the United States and estimation of normal consumption. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 May 31;54(11):4069-75.
Elaine M. Daniel et al (1989). Extraction, stability, and quantitation of ellagic acid in various fruits and nuts. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. Volume 2, Issue 4, December 1989, Pages 338-349.
Seeram N. P. et al (2006). Blackberry, black raspberry, blueberry, cranberry, red raspberry, and strawberry extracts inhibit growth and stimulate apoptosis of human cancer cells in vitro. J Agric Food Chem. 13, 54(25), 9329-39.
D. Komes et al (2014). Formulating blackberry leaf mixtures for preparation of infusions with plant derived sources of sweeteners. Food Chemistry, Volume 151, May 15, Pages 385-393.