By Nutritionist, Anita Bean
Blackberries contain a wide range of nutrients, including vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, potassium and magnesium as well as fibre and other plant nutrients that have numerous health benefits. These include flavonoids, which have powerful anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. They also give blackberries their deep purple colour. Eating around 10 blackberries will count towards one of your five-a-day. These berries are readily available in abundance and tasty straight from the punnet.
“Blackberries are a rich source of vitamin C”
A 100g portion provides 15 mg, which is 35% of your daily requirement. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant, which protects cells from damage, and strengthens the immune system. It maintains healthy skin and plays a role in the production of collagen, which keeps the skin smooth and elastic.
“Blackberries may help reduce hunger”
Swapping your usual snack for blackberries may help you eat less at your next meal. A study at Loughborough University found that people who ate a handful of mixed berries (including blackberries) instead of a sugary-snack (with the same calorie content) mid-afternoon ate 134 fewer calories at dinner in the evening.
“They may help fight off colds”
Eating foods rich in flavonoids can significantly reduce your chances of catching colds and coughs. A study from the University of Auckland, New Zealand found that people were 33% more protected from colds and upper respiratory tract infections if they regularly ate foods containing flavanoids compared with those who didn’t. Because flavonoids have anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, they can boost your immune system and make you less likely to catch a cold.
“They are a perfect post-workout snack”
Flavonoids play an important role in performance and recovery and studies suggest that these compounds help reduce muscle soreness, muscle damage and inflammation after intense exercise, as well as speed up muscle recovery.
“They may help reduce inflammation”
Blackberries contain powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, which suggests that they may provide protection against inflammatory conditions. A growing body of scientific research indicates that inflammation contributes to diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and obesity.
“They may help keep your brain young”
A study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that blackberry extract may provide a protective effect on brain, improve memory, learning and general brain function, as well as slowing the decline in age-related memory loss thanks to their high concentration of flavanoids.
“Blackberries may help prevent weight gain”
The high flavonoid content of blackberries may help prevent weight gain by blocking fat absorption and boosting helpful flab-fighting gut bacteria. A study conducted in 2734 UK female twins linked a flavonoid-rich diet to lower body fat. Those whose diets contained the most flavonoids had significantly less total body fat and abdominal fat compared with those who consumed the least.
“Blackberries may help keep your heart healthy”
The high flavonoid content of blackberries may contribute to their role in protecting against heart disease. Scientific studies have linked diets high in flavonoids with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and hypertension. Flavonoids are thought to lower the risk of atherosclerosis through protecting LDL cholesterol from free radical damage and strengthening blood vessel walls.