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Beautiful Blackberries

Summer is beckoning here in the south and I am ever so excited to celebrate the season with some of the seasons staple fruits, berries!!! Blackberries are some of the most antioxidant packed due to the deep black and purple colors it produces. This bramble dweller is quite impressive on the health benefit scale and here are 8 reasons why!

8 Health Benefits of Blackberries

Cancer Prevention Anthocyanins, the antioxidants that give blackberries their dark color, have been shown to reduce inflammation. They destroy free radicals in the body that harm cells and lead to cancer. Research has also shown that the ellagic acid in blackberries may have anti-cancer properties. One cup of blackberries contains half of the daily recommendation of the antioxidant vitamin C, which protects the immune system and may lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer.

Researchers have found that blackberries (and other berries) may reduce esophageal cancer by relieving the oxidative stress caused by Barrett’s esophagus, a precancerous condition usually brought about by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Perhaps the greatest benefit from eating blackberries is the high level of phenolic acids that they contain. Phenolic acids are antioxidant compounds that have powerful anti-cancer properties.

Cardiovascular Benefits The anthocyanins that give blackberries their dark color are antioxidants that have been shown to reduce inflammation by helping to combat free radicals in the body that can lead to heart disease. The Vitamin C in blackberries acts as an antioxidant and one cup of blackberries contains half of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Research suggests that consuming vitamin C may prevent or slow the progress of the hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) that can lead to cardiovascular problems like heart attack and stroke.

Skin Health Blackberries are a great source of ellagic acid, an antioxidant that has been shown to protect the skin from UV damage. Research has found that ellagic acid may help to prevent sun damage by keeping collagen from degrading and reducing the inflammatory response caused by the sun. The Vitamin C in blackberries helps with wound healing and studies have also shown that vitamin C may lessen the appearance of wrinkles. Studies of cyanidin-3-glucoside, a compound found in blackberries showed it prevents skin cancer by inhibiting tumors from growing and spreading.

Eye Health The anthocyanins in blackberries may protect against macular degeneration, an age-related eye disease that results in central vision loss and is the leading cause of blindness in people over 50. The vitamin C in blackberries may also help to protect against macular degeneration and cataracts.

Women’s Health Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring plant estrogens found in blackberries that research has found may help to relieve the perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. They may also help with the symptoms of PMS like bloating, food cravings, and even menopausal symptoms like hot flashes.

Digestive Tract Health Just one cup of blackberries contains over thirty percent of the daily recommended amount of fiber, which promotes healthy digestion and aids in maintaining bowel regularity by bulking up the feces and reducing the time it takes matter to pass all the way through the intestines. Bowel regularity is commonly associated with a decreased risk for colon cancer.

Diabetes The fiber in blackberries helps to curtail extremes regarding simple sugar uptake from the digestive tract. An excess of simple sugar uptake all at once can produce an unwanted blood sugar spike. A lack of simple sugar uptake may produce a rapid blood sugar drop. Either extreme can upset blood sugar balance. The quantity of fiber in blackberries helps to avoid both extremes.

Bone Health Blackberries are a good source of vitamin K, offering 36% of the daily recommended amount of this nutrient used by the body for the clotting of blood and to aid the absorption of calcium. Vitamin C is also believed to protect against bone loss.

Fun Facts:

Black berries contain water soluble pigments called anthocyanin!

Batology is the scientific study of blackberries.

Thought it was the study of bats? You were wrong! Chiropterology is the study of bats. Just to confuse you even further – a batologist is defined as someone who studies blackberries but is also frequently and probably mistakenly used a colloquial and humorous term for someone who studies bats.

Truces were called in the Civil War to pick blackberries.

During the Civil War, blackberry tea was said to be the best cure for dysentery. Temporary truces were declared throughout the conflict to allow both Union and Confederate soldiers to forage for blackberries. It was not completely successful however, as outbreaks of dysentery still plagued the soldiers throughout the war.

Blackberries have been used as hair dye

Nicholas Culpeper, an English herbalist from the 1600s, recommended the blackberry leaf to be used as hair dye. He advised that the leaves were to be boiled in a lye solution in order to “maketh the hair black”.

Don’t mistake them for the black raspberry!

The blackberry should not be confused with the black raspberry, which looks almost identical. The easiest way to tell the difference is by the core. Blackberries will always have a white core, with part of the stem still attached, whereas black raspberries are hollow in the center as the stem is left behind when picked. Black raspberries are a treat to find though – they are less tart than blackberries and make excellent jams.

So go source some non-geo heirloom seeds and get to planting, assemble a beautiful smoothie bowl or top your morning oats with these beauties! I'd love to see you creations so if you do, hashtag me on IG! #MLoveLifeInspired

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