Blackberries, a little bit sweet and a little bit sour, are a fruit with good organoleptic properties characteristic of summer. Their regular recruitment brings considerable benefits. Let’s see which ones
They belong to the family blackberry both the bramble ones, black and even red, and both those of mulberry, typically reddish. The blackberries grow wild all over Europe. It is easy to find them in our countryside and in the woods, usually along the roadside.
The mulberry tree, by contrast, is grown and its leaves are used as a primary food for silkworms.
Blackberries tree, scientific name Rubus ulmifolius, belong to the family Rosaceae. Fruits reach maturity in the summer months, when they take on a shiny blackish color. Once they are picked they must be consumed immediately, or they can be kept in the fridge, but for a few days.
- Chemical Composition
- Oral Health
- Brain Benefits
European blackberry plants are used for medicinal purposes as antimicrobial, anticancer, dysentery, antidiabetic, antidiarrheal and also a good antioxidant. In British folk medicine, the bramble has a reputation for treating and preventing a wide variety of disorders. The most common blackberry species in Britain is the Rubus fruticosus which is naturalized in most of the world, including North America.
In folk medicine, both the plant and the fruit have been widely used. The root for example was used to treat dysentery while the leaves were used for pertussis. The juice instead is used for the treatment of colitis and the leaves are chewed to treat toothache.
|Chemical composition for 100 g of blackberries|
|Vitamin A, RAE||mcg||11|
They also contain flavonoids, organic acids (citric, malic, tartaric), pectins and anthocyanosides. The root contains saponins and tannins, while the leaf contains acid fruits, flavonoids and tannins.
100 grams of blackberries have a caloric yield of 43 kcal .
Blackberries: Properties and Benefits
Blackberries are known for their anticancer properties. Because they contain antioxidants, they are effective at destroying free radicals that damage cells and can lead to tumors. They also help protect and strengthen immunity, reducing the risk of cancer. They are particularly useful when it comes to reducing the risk of esophageal, cervical and breast cancer. ( 1 )
Once again a study on the properties of food shows that cancer prevention starts with nutrition. A study conducted in Ohio and published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research of January 2009, confirmed the antitumor activity of the compounds present in this fruit. Even flavonoids seem able to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Like almost all wild berries, blackberries also have useful properties in the fight against cancer. Blackberries have a high content of antioxidants , polyphenols in particular. Among these we find the anthocyanins that are present in large quantities in the fruit. Anthocyanins are the pigments that give color to wild berries.
According to studies, anthocyanins are the main weapon of blackberries in the fight against tumors. ( 2 )
In a 2004 study it was shown that fresh blackberry extract has protective effects against lung cancer. The research shows that the anthocyanins block the oxidative stress that causes the proliferation of cancer cells. ( 3 )
A 2006 study examined the effects of 6 different berry extracts on cancer growth in the mouth, breast, colon and prostate. The results confirmed that everyone, including blackberry, somehow managed to block the proliferation of cancer cells. ( 4 )
Inflammation is a natural short-lived process that is used by the body to self medicate. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, the risk of serious illnesses such as heart disease and cancer increases considerably .
The regular intake of these fruits reduces inflammation in a natural way and therefore without side effects typical of drugs. According to studies this property is mainly due to the polyphenols present in the fruit. ( 5 )
A 2013 study, for example, demonstrated the ability of these fruits to protect the body from gastric ulcers. During the tests a decrease of 88 % was found gastric ulcers in subjects treated with blackberry extract. ( 6 )
Blackberries are used to treat sore throat, mouth ulcers and inflammation of the gums. A decoction of leaves is useful as a gargle in treating lily of the valley and is also a good general mouthwash.
According to recent studies, blackberries also have antibacterial properties. It appears that their consumption destroys the cells infected by bacteria and leaves healthy ones intact. The leaves of blackberry have been traditionally used in herbal medicine as an antimicrobial agent and their properties healthful antioxidants. A laboratory study was published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents. ( 7 , 8 )
One 2013 study found that the ‘ blackberry extract has properties antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Even if further investigation is needed, the researchers suggest that this fruit could be useful to prevent and treat gum disease and tooth decay. ( 9 )
Thanks to the content of dietary fiber and antioxidant compounds they help prevent cardiovascular diseases by keeping the arteries clean and elastic. These substances in fact help reduce bad LDL cholesterol levels .
In several studies the consumption of fruit and vegetables has been correlated to the decrease in the risks of cardiovascular disease. In particular, the consumption of berries and their contribution to improving cardiovascular health are of considerable interest.
Nutritional epidemiology provides convincing evidence of the cardioprotective effects of frequent consumption of fruit and vegetables with high fiber content, micronutrients and different phytochemicals. ( 10 , 11 )
Studies have also reported specific associations between berries or flavonoids derived from berries (anthocyanins) and cardiovascular health. A Finnish study showed a lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease in people who consume more berries, including blackberries. ( 12 )
The accumulated evidence has shown that consumption of berries shows a wide range of biological activities in lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Among their properties there are anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive, hypoglycemic, anticoagulant and improved lipid metabolism disorders. ( 13 , 14 )
Blackberries provide protection even against the endothelial dysfunction. This is characterized by an abnormal functioning of the inner lining of blood vessels. According to an Italian study, some blackberry compounds fight oxidative activity and help normalize the factors involved in this disease. ( 15 )
They are Good for Brain
Blackberries can also bring benefits to cognitive function and the memory. Recent studies have shown that the polyphenolic components present in blackberries help to delay the decline of the cognitive activity of aging.
These properties are supported by some scientific research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. According to these studies, the antioxidants present in wild berries counteract free radicals and influence the way in which brain neurons communicate. ( 16 )
There are other clinical researches that have shown that berries can prevent age-related neurodegenerative diseases and improve motor and cognitive functions. The neuroprotective effects of berries on neurodegenerative diseases are related to phytochemicals such as anthocyanin, caffeic acid, catechin, quercetin, kaempferol and tannins. ( 17 )
According to studies, the consumption of blackberries helps protect the eyes from ultraviolet radiation thanks to the presence of lutein. This compound is able to protect the eyes from oxidative stress. Furthermore, the anthocyanins and vitamins in the fruit protect the eyes from diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts and twilight blindness. ( 18 )
They also contain a good percentage of vitamin K which is helpful in coagulating the blood. Their consumption is therefore indicated for those who have excessive bleeding and difficulty in healing in the case of small wounds.
These fruits have a good content of soluble fiber and insoluble that are essential for the proper functioning of the digestive tract. Consumed regularly during the months in which they are available, blackberries are an excellent preventive method for constipation.
Thanks to their antioxidant properties, blackberry extract protects the skin from UVB rays damage. This is supported by a 2015 study conducted at the University of Kentucky. According to studies, blackberry extract also protects the skin from UVA damage thanks to the presence of anthocyanins.( 19 , 20 )
Grappa di More
Get a liter of good quality grappa and dip 200 grams of freshly picked blackberries into it. Add a small piece of cinnamon and two peeled lemon wedges. Then expose to sunlight for a couple of weeks, then store in a dark place for about a month.
After this period, carefully filter everything and store in a cool place away from light for at least 2 months before being able to consume it.
The more contain folic acid (vitamin B9). During the early stages of pregnancy, any deficiency of this acid increases the risk of a fetal malformation or problems related to the growth of the fetus itself.
In addition, folic acid helps to regulate homocysteine levels, which can cause serious damage in high quantities.
Precautions and Advices
When we decide to go and pick blackberries it is good to consider that they are ripe to the right point, of an intense black color and shiny, since in case they were still a little bit sour, they would have a sour taste and an too astringent effect.
Beware that they are not too mature, because, in addition to the loss of taste, there is also the risk that they have been visited by flies and other insects attracted by the greater exposure of sugars.
Due to their discrete nutritional properties, thanks to sugars, the inviting taste and the refreshing power, natural blackberries are a fruit that should not be underestimated in appetite drops resulting from the summer heat.
Although rarely , some individuals may be allergic to these fruits. If so we note itching or swelling in the hands, mouth or lips while eating these fruits, better to stop taking them immediately.
The fruits are harvested in the wild state for the preparation of jam, syrups, wine and liqueur.
Since ancient times, in case of gum problems, chewing of blackberry leaves was recommended. Very often the leaves are used as ingredients for herbal teas and decoctions that have the purpose of treating pain caused by gastric ulcers.
The Greeks used the plant to cure gout while the Romans used the leaves to prepare a tea with therapeutic properties.
Recent news is the one that comes from South Tyrol, where some researchers have discovered a new typology of substances, the ellagitannins .
These are compound substances capable of producing considerable quantities of ellagic acid , a substance with considerable protective properties and present only in certain foods.
The blackberries, according to their ORAC value, are positioned among the first 10 foods with higher antioxidant power .
In a rat study, the plant was used to treat diabetes. A leaf extract has shown a hypoglycemic effect. ( 22 )
Currently, Mexico is the country that exports the most of these fruits every year.
Blackberries: Properties and Benefits
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