Biting into a fresh, ripe blackberry is sure to make your taste buds tingle with nostalgia for warm summer afternoons, but this sweet little berry is also a nutritional powerhouse! Not only are they full of vitamins and minerals, but they also contribute unique advantages to your overall health. Blackberries are often referred to as a superfood and are an excellent lower-glycemic option for those with a sweet tooth, so you will be wanting to add this berry to everything.
Below are six incredible healing benefits of this delicious summer berry, with recipe suggestions from our Food Monster App for inspiration!
1. Excellent Source of Vitamin K
3-Ingredient Berry Cereal/One Green Planet
Vitamin K functions as a coagulating, bone-forming, and anti-calcification molecule in the body. It’s responsible for growing strong bones, clotting blood after an injury, and stopping calcium from building up in the body and disrupting its normal process.
If you are deficient in vitamin K, it could contribute to blood thinning and bone fractures, leading to osteoporosis or bruising.
Luckily, blackberries contain over one-third of the recommended daily value of vitamin K, weighing in at 29-micrograms in just one cup!
2. High in Fiber
Cucumber Quinoa Salad with Blackberries/One Green Planet
It’s common knowledge that consuming a diet rich in fiber will contribute to a healthy digestive system, but it also promotes healthy gut bacteria, lowers cholesterol levels, slows the rate of sugar absorption in the blood stream, and insures that you stay full for longer. Fiber is able to function in so many ways because it decreases the time of intestinal transit, removing bacteria that could be dangerous or carcinogenic and negatively impact your health otherwise.
Blackberries are very high in fiber compared to most fruits, and are an amazing topping to add to your morning oats or smoothies to expedite and improve the functioning of the digestive system.
3. The Powerhouse of Vitamin C
Vitamin C, an essential nutrient during cold and flu season, does much more than just combat sickness. In order to help build collagen in the body, repair cartilage, and heal wounds, vitamin C intake is crucial. Some researchers even believe that regular consumption of vitamin C can also be excellent for cancer prevention, because the antioxidant prevents free radicals we are exposed to from negatively impacting our cells.
Thankfully, by eating just one cup of raw blackberries, you are getting half of your recommended daily dose of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that exceptionally heals the body!
4. Enhances Cognition
A Health Blog/Flickr
Due to an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory chemical called anthocyanin (responsible for the bright colors found in berries), blackberries have been found to increase cognition and even reduce the chances of developing motor related issues later in life. This is because these antioxidants not only protect brain cells from free radicals, but enhance the functioning of neurons to prevent inflammation in the brain.
5. Improves Vision
Because blackberries are rich in vitamin A carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein, they are believed to improve vision and overall eye health. This is because these carotenoids work to protect photoreceptors in the macula, an area in the retina where sharp vision is manufactured. These antioxidant chemicals found in blackberries also have anti-inflammatory properties that aid in reducing stress on the retina when exposed to blue light, or visible light from sun exposure.
If you are looking to ease the stress on those retinas, try this Bohemian Summer Salad with Grilled Corn and Blackberries, or these Raspberry and Blackberry Tarts.
6. Combats Oral Bacteria
New studies in periodontics have been testing blackberry extract to help beat pathogens that lead to gum diseases. Certain phenol antioxidants found in blackberries have antimicrobial properties that have been known to fight bacteria. When blackberry extract was tested against common oral pathogens, it was shown to reduce the metabolic activity against three that contribute to poor oral health and lead to inflammatory infections. This research is very promising and could possibly be the future of fighting oral diseases!
For a meal rich in pathogen-fighting antioxidants try this Colada Morada, or Ecuadorean Spiced Fruit Stew loaded with blackberries and other powerful super-fruits!
To learn more about the healing power of berries like 6 Power-Packed Berries You Should Be Eating, we also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
Lead Image Source: Jeremy Jenum/Flickr