6 amazing health benefits of blackberries

6 amazing health benefits of blackberries
June 22 21:59 2017

One of my favorite things to find is the intersection between delicious food and incredible health benefits. Nothing truer could be said about the health benefits of blackberries.

Boasting an ORAC score that lands it high on the most antioxidant-rich foods, as well as a list of nutrients so long it’s hard to remember even half of them plus one of the yummiest and most versatile tastes found in food, the blackberry is a fruit that I consider a “win,” no matter how you eat it.

Similar to the health benefits of blueberries, this delicate berry contains at least a third of the daily recommended value for four important nutrients and has been found to fight everything from premature skin aging to aggressive cancers. It has a rich history and, bonus, can be used in virtually any type of food.

Trust me, you should keep reading to learn all about the amazing health benefits of blackberries.

6 Health Benefits of Blackberries

  1. May Prevent and Slow Growth of Cancer

One of the most widely researched health benefits of blackberries is their ability to work as a cancer-fighting food. The reason for this is most likely due to the rich antioxidants found in the blackberry. Blackberries contain polyphenols, a class of antioxidants known for their cancer-fighting abilities. Specifically, anthocyanin (a particular polyphenol) is found in high concentrations in this fruit. Anthocyanins are thought of as the primary weapon blackberries use against the development of cancer.

For example, an extract of fresh blackberry was found to exhibit tumor-preventive effects on a line of human lung cell cancer. The high levels of oxidative stress that cause the proliferation (growth) of cancer cells are blocked by the anthocyanins found in blackberries. In regard to lung cancer, there has been at least one study demonstrating the effectiveness of cyanidin-3-glucoside, a specific anthocyanin found in blackberries, on the growth of cancerous lung tumors.

In general, blackberries are known to help prevent some of the cell mutation that leads to cancer in the first place. While the cause of cancer is complex and different for every person, the mutation of DNA and healthy cells in particular is what seems to lead to the growth of this disease, so eating antioxidant-rich foods, such as blackberries, helps suppress this mutation.

A study from UCLA in 2006 investigated the effects of six different berry varieties, including the blackberry, on the growth of oral, breast, colon and prostate cancers. Each of the six berry extracts prohibited cancer growth to some degree, urging researchers to continue looking into the impact these berries can have in treating cancer.

Vitamin K may also be a factor in the anti-cancer properties of blackberries. One serving of blackberries has over a third of the daily recommended value of vitamin K, which plays a part in helping prevent and fight prostate, colon, stomach, nasal, oral and liver cancers.

  1. Improve and Maintain Brain Function

The incredible nutrient load of blackberries makes them a remarkable candidate for peak mental health. Preliminary studies focused on motor skills and short-term memory retention find that blackberries have great potential in increasing brain performance, like many other berries high in antioxidants, which is why berries are among some of the top brain foods. Short-term memory seems most drastically improved by a consistent diet of blackberries, according to certain reports.

Manganese is one nutrient present in high levels in blackberries that’s vital to brain functioning. A notable percentage of manganese in your body is found in the synapses of your brain. Because of the importance of manganese transmission in the brain, a manganese deficiency is linked to brain conditions like epilepsy. It’s crucial to get the proper amount of manganese in your diet in order to keep your synapses firing correctly.

It also seems that blackberries and extracted compounds from them have the ability to protect brain cells from degeneration. Once again, this is attributed to increased polyphenol concentration in the blood. Interestingly, one particular study on this function of blackberries noted that commercial varieties of blackberries had no effect whatsoever, while wild-grown berries showed significant protective ability.

  1. Reduce Inflammation, Fight Infection and Boost Immunity

Because of the antioxidants touted as one of the major health benefits of blackberries, this should be one of the main foods you consume regularly to protect your body from oxidative stress and chronic inflammation responsible for a massive number of diseases.

You see, inflammation is at the root of most diseases. The natural process of inflammation is part of the body’s defense against harmful cells, but the Western diet is especially prone to encouraging chronic, disease-causing inflammation. Blackberries naturally cause a reduction in inflammation and allow your body’s processes to happen as they should, rather than on overdrive.

An example of the blackberry’s ability to fight inflammation is in its protection against stomach ulcers. One study found an 88 percent reduction in the stomach ulcers of subjects given extracted ellagitannins (a type of antioxidant) from blackberries, due to the reduced inflammation of the mucosal lining of the stomach, as well as a drop in the oxidative stress that was also partially responsible for the ulcers.

Anti-inflammatory foods often go hand in hand with foods high in antioxidants, and blackberries are no exception. As whole, healthy foods like blackberries fight inflammation, they also help curb the free radical damage caused by oxidative stress within your body. This damage occurs when the uncharged molecules (free radicals) that are responsible for aging and immune system function are overproduced due to exposure to the sun, too many processed foods or medication use. You can fight oxidative stress with antioxidants like those found in blackberries and other berries (and a ton of other amazing foods), slowing the onset or development of disease and premature aging.

Blackberries also show antibacterial activity, another function by which they protect your body from disease. They can reduce the impact of oral infections by targeting infected cells while leaving other cells untouched, making them a potentially powerful agent to treat infection.

  1. Regulate Menstrual Health

If you struggle with painful symptoms of PMS, one solution might be to introduce more blackberries into your diet. The presence of vitamin K helps regulate hormone function and thereby potentially reduces cramping pains. As a blood-clotting vitamin, it can also help with excessive bleeding and give some pain relief during heavy menstrual cycles.

Another way to alleviate mental and physical PMS symptoms is by consuming foods high in manganese and calcium, both of which are contained in blackberries.

  1. Good for the Cardiovascular System

The vitamin K in blackberries is important for the health of your entire cardiovascular system. Vitamin K serves to stop the hardening of arteries by carrying calcium out of them and preventing buildup that can lead to serious diseases.

Healthy consumption of vitamin K is also linked to healthy blood pressure levels, reduced inflammation in cells that line blood vessels (both veins and arteries) as well as a lower chance of heart attack.

In addition, another function of the anthocyanins (remember the polyphenol antioxidant that is so effective against cancer?) in blackberries is their protective effects against endothelial dysfunction and heart failure. Endothelial dysfunction is a mouthful that describes a condition of the blood vessels around the heart where they’re constantly restricting and then dilating. It’s related to various forms of heart disease and associated with a high risk of heart failure or attack.

However, one special anthocyanin, cyanidin-3-O-glucoside, found in blackberries, seems to do a great deal in protecting these blood vessels and may be able to significantly reduce the occurrence of this dysfunction — and, hopefully, delay or stop the onset of the related cardiovascular diseases.

  1. Promote Healthy Skin

Sometimes, the health benefits of blackberries reach skin-deep, and that’s no joke. An extract of the blackberry fruit generally protects the skin from UVB damage through antioxidant activity. It also protects the keratinocytes in your skin from UV damage, which are the cells that form a protective layer on your epidermis and then reproduce below the outer layer of skin to continually replenish the epidermis. Once again, the heroes of this story are the anthocyanins in blackberries.

The vitamin C found in blackberry nutrition also helps keep skin healthy and strong. It promotes collagen production, decreases the instance of dry skin and may even prevent premature aging of the skin.

Skin health isn’t all about preventing wrinkles, though. The nutrients in blackberries also have an antiviral effect on infections affecting the skin, specifically the herpes virus responsible for cold sores.

 

Source: draxe.com