Monday, July 4, 2016

Blackberries – The Unsung Berry!

Fresh blackberries were recently identified as a top cancer fighter.  Blackberries are actually cluster of fruits, similar to grapes, and the seeds inside contribute to the berry’s nutrient value.
Blackberries have one of the highest antioxidant contents per serving of any food tested. In a 2006 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, scientists indicated that blackberries’ antioxidant content was far above that of other foods. This means that regular consumption of blackberries may have a positive impact on health, athletic performance and disease risk.
One of the many phytochemicals in blackberries is Anthocyanins. This flavonoid gives blackberries their dark color.   Anthocyanins have been shown to protect the brain from oxidative stress and may even reduce the effects of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Blackberries have also been shown to have beneficial health effects in the fight against many forms of cancer.
Blackberries have a sweet, tart flavor, making them a perfect for salads or smoothies. They are also great as a topping for yogurt.  Blackberries are also great all by themselves!
Blackberries are also easy to store.  Just wash the berries, cut off the hulls, and seal in a Ziploc bag and freeze.   The other option is to purchase frozen blackberries which are prewashed.   In addition organic blackberries are always the best option, and frozen organic blackberries are much easier to find then fresh ones!
Health Benefits of Blackberries
Blackberries are a nutritional powerhouse loaded with vitamin C, low in calories (only 43 calories per 100 gram serving) and sodium. They are also high in both soluble and insoluble fiber.   A 100 gram serving of blackberries contains 5.3 g of fiber which is about 20% of the RDA!   Blackberries are also rich in vitamins A, E, K, and B vitamins, as well as the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which are important for eye health and play a role in helping to prevent several chronic diseases. Blackberries also contain other minerals and nutrients including copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, niacin, and folic acid.

In addition blackberries contain high levels of other powerful phytochemicals including ellagic acid, tannin, gallic acid, pelargonidins, quercetin, cyanidins, kaempferol, catechins, and salicylic acid. These plant chemicals help prevent aging, inflammation, cancer, and other neurological diseases.

Studies on Blackberries
Ellagic acid, found in generous amounts in blackberries, has been shown to inhibit cancer formation.   The beneficial combination of chemicals in blackberries may effectively prevent cancer more than any one of the individual phytochemicals by itself.

Blackberries can also have beneficial effects on brain health.   The high anti-oxidant levels in blackberries may help prevent age-related memory loss!

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