Every healthy diet will include a daily dose of vegetables and fruits. A smart fruit choice when in season is Blackberries because of their high antioxidant properties.
What are Blackberries and Where do They Grow?
Blackberries are also known as black raspberries, and they are not a true berry. Their actual botanical classification is an aggregate fruit, whereby the fruit forms from single flowers with multiple individual carpels.
Blackberry plants are perennial and are abundant in Eastern North America, the Pacific coast, Western Europe and the British Isles. The fruit grows on either plants with erect arching canes or on trailing plants. They bloom mid-to-late June and are usually ready to be picked in July or August, depending on the region. If picked too early they will be sour, but when fully ripe they are juicy and sweet.
Blackberries: A Powerful Antioxidant
The blackberry fruit contains anthocyanocides, responsible for the berry’s color, and polyhphenol. Both of these antioxidant properties are believed to fight free radicals in our bodies, and in doing so ward off heart disease, cancer and strokes. Their ORAC value (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) is 5347 per 100 grams, ranking them toward the top of all ORAC fruit, and at number one position of more than one-thousand antioxidant foods in the United States.
The Whole Food Supplements Guide website tells us that Ohio State University researchers gave 32 to 45 grams of black raspberries to patients who had Barrett’s esophagus, a precancerous condition usually caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease. Their research found reduced oxidative stress in urine and tissue samples of the patients.
Other studies have used a compound found in blackberries, cyanidin-3 glucoside, in studies that resulted in inhibited growth of skin tumors, and lung cancer cells.
Nutritional Breakdown of Blackberries
Blackberries are high in dietary fiber, manganese, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and the B Vitamin, Folic Acid. One cup of blackberries will provide 70 calories, .5 grams of fat, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of protein and 11 grams of natural sugar. A cup of this tasty antioxidant fruit supplies 4% of the RDA for Vitamin A and Calcium, 50% of Vitamin C and 4% of Iron.
Note: Enjoy the seeds when you eat blackberries, because they are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fats, protein, carotenoids, dietary fiber and ellagic acid, another antioxidant property.
Fresh Blackberries or a Supplement?
Don’t take the boring route of trying to get your antioxidants via a pill. MayoClinic.com recommends eating vegetables and fruit high in antioxidants over taking antioxidant supplements. They explain, “there are several hundred types of carotenes (beta carotene is just one of them) and 8 forms of vitamin E. This is a strong argument for vegetables and fruit over pills that contain single forms of nutrients. Furthermore, vegetables and fruit contain combinations of these compounds that dynamically interact.”
Besides the nutritional argument made by Mayo Clinic, why pop a pill when you can pop blackberry after blackberry and savor every nutritious bite? I bought a pack of plump, ripe, delicious blackberries at my local Sprouts farmers market today for just 88 cents, which I ate at one sitting. What a bargain for all those antioxidants!
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Whole Food Supplements Guide: “Blackberry Fruit”
MayoClinic.com: Antioxidant Supplements: “Prevention in a pill?”
Caloriecount.about.com – Calories in Blackberries