Blackberries offer many health benefits, including:
- full of vitamins and minerals like C, K, and manganese
- high in fiber
- may boost brain health
Sweet yet tart blackberries are a summer staple. But the benefits of these berry beauties go well beyond their yummy taste. Blackberries have impressive health benefits, too.
1. They’re packed with vitamin C
Just one cup of raw blackberries has 30.2 milligrams of vitamin C. That’s half the daily recommended value. Vitamin C is integral to collagen formation in bones, connective tissue, and blood vessels. Vitamin C may also help you:
- heal wounds
- regenerate the skin
- battle free radicals (molecules released by toxins) in the body
- absorb iron
- shorten the common cold
- prevent scurvy
More research is needed, but some studies suggest vitamin C helps reduce the formation of cancer-causing substances in the body. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant which may also reduce oxidative stress in the body that can lead to cancer.
2. They’re high in fiber
Most people don’t get enough fiber in their diet. That’s a problem: A low-fiber diet has been linked to digestive problems like bloating, constipation, and stomach pain. And according to a 2013 study, not getting enough fiber may increase your risk of heart disease.
A high-fiber diet may help you:
- reduce cholesterol
- promote regular bowel movements
- control blood sugar levels by slowing the rate of sugar absorption
- lose weight by making you feel fuller longer
- provide fuel to nourish healthy gut bacteria
For such a tiny berry, blackberries are high in fiber. One cup of raw blackberries has almost 8 grams.
3. Great source of vitamin K
Vitamin K is the reason why you don’t bleed profusely when you cut yourself: It helps your blood clot. Vitamin K also plays a role in bone metabolism. Vitamin K deficiency may lead to bone thinning and bone fractures. It may cause easy bruising, heavy menstrual bleeding, and blood in the stool or in the urine.
Just one cup of raw blackberries provides almost 29 micrograms — over one-third of the daily recommended value — of vitamin K.
If you take blood thinners, make sure to eat a consistent amount of foods high in vitamin K like blackberries, green leafy vegetables, soybeans, and fermented dairy foods.
4. High in manganese
You don’t hear as much about manganese as other minerals, but it’s vital to healthy bone development and a healthy immune system. It also helps your body metabolize carbs, amino acids, and cholesterol. Like vitamin C, manganese plays a key role in the formation of collagen. And the enzyme that helps manganese form collagen, prolidase, also helps wounds heal properly.
Manganese may help prevent osteoporosis, manage blood sugar levels, and reduce epileptic seizures.
One cup of raw blackberries contains 0.9 milligrams of manganese, almost half the daily recommended value. Keep in mind though that too much manganese may be toxic.
You’re unlikely to get too much manganese in food amounts, though, unless you have a condition that prevents your body from eliminating excess manganese, like chronic liver disease or anemia.
5. May boost brain health
Eating berry fruits like blackberries may improve brain health and help prevent memory loss caused by aging, according to a review of research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The review concluded that antioxidants in berry fruits help fight free radicals and alter how brain neurons communicate. This may help reduce brain inflammation, which can lead to cognitive and motor issues common with aging.
6. Helps support oral health
According to a 2013 study, you may want to add blackberries to your daily dental regimen. The study found blackberry extract has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory abilities against some types of bacteria that cause oral disease. Researchers caution more study is needed, but suggest blackberry extract may help prevent and control gum disease and cavities.
Blackberries are a great option to satisfy your sweet tooth if you want to lose weight or you’re on a low-carb eating plan. One cup of raw blackberries has only 62 calories, 1 gram of fat, and only 14 carbs. This makes them easy to add to a healthy eating plan.
Blackberries also have a low Glycemic Index (GI), coming in at 25. GI ranks how carb-containing foods may impact your blood glucose response. A rating of 55 or lower is considered less likely to spike blood sugar levels.
Glycemic Load (GL) takes into account the GI as well as the grams of carbohydrates in a typical serving. GL is considered to be a more accurate assessment of how a food can impact blood sugar. Blackberries’ GL is only 4, which is very low.
There’s an argument to be made for calling blackberries a superfood. They’re high in beneficial vitamins and minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. They’re low in calories, carbs, and fat. Blackberries are also versatile and easy to add to your diet.
While more studies are needed to determine if blackberries definitively fight cancer and help prevent heart disease, the research so far is exciting. We do know there’s substantial evidence to support a plant-heavy diet for cancer prevention as well as many other benefits.
Enjoy blackberries and their benefits in a smoothie, a yogurt parfait, or atop a green salad.