Blackberries are, of course, the edible fruits that grow on blackberry shrubs. (Their botanical name is rubus fruticosus if you want to get fancy.) They're actually pretty easy to grow, if you have the space. The best time to plant blackberry shrubs is early spring, hence why they're so abundant in June through August.
- Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, New York City-based registered dietitian nutritionist
If you need some inspo on why exactly you may want to up your blackberry consumption, stay tuned. Here, registered dietitian Isabel Smith, RD explains the key blackberry benefits. Plus, get ideas for more ways to get your fill.
Blackberry benefits every healthy eater should know
1. Blackberries are high in antioxidants
All berries are rich in antioxidants, and blackberries are no exception. In fact, of all the berries, antioxidant content is highest in blackberries, blueberries, and cranberries. "Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals in your body," Smith says. "Free radicals are compounds in our bodies that are necessary for specific functions, but can cause serious harm if their levels become too high." (Which can happen naturally as well as due to exposure to pollution, cigarette smoke, and other elements.) She says that increased free radicals in the body can be linked to multiple illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. "Antioxidants have the ability to decrease or prevent the effects of free radicals," she says.
2. Consuming blackberries can help you meet your daily fiber intake goals
Hot health tip: Fiber is one of *the* most important nutrients the body needs, playing a role in everything from gut health to lowering inflammation. A good goal is to aim to get between 25 to 30 grams a day—something the majority of Americans fall short on. Adding more blackberries to your diet can help you get there. One cup has eight grams of the nutrient, roughly a fourth of what you need for the whole day.
3. They're good for your immune system
"Blackberries have vitamin C, which absolutely helps with the immune system," Smith says. "Just one cup of blackberries contains 30 milligrams of vitamin C, which is half the daily recommended value." Chicken noodle soup may be your immunity booster in cold weather, but blackberries can be your warm-weather fix.
4. Eating blackberries is good for your bones
Blackberries are definitely an overlooked bone health food, but because they contain vitamin K—28.5 micrograms per cup, aka 31 percent of your recommended daily intake—Smith says they do, in fact, directly benefit your bones. "Vitamin K is essential for bone health," she says. "Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that makes proteins for healthy bones and normal blood clotting. A deficiency in this vitamin would lead to bone thinning, bone fractures, easy bruising, heavy menstrual bleeding, and blood in the stool or in the urine." Bet you definitely want to uptake your blackberry intake after hearing that.
5. Blackberries have magnesium
One cup of blackberries has 29 milligrams of magnesium, part of the 400 milligrams we should get every day. "Magnesium is a miracle worker for our bodies and absolutely essential," Smith says. Some of magnesium's main functions include creating energy, protein formation, gene maintenance, muscle movement, and nervous system regulation, she says.
6. They have potassium
A cup of blackberries has about half of the potassium content as a banana—a great swap if the latter fruit isn't one of your faves. Potassium is an important nutrient because it helps balance sodium levels so the body can function properly. Without getting enough, blood pressure can raise to unhealthy levels. Potassium also helps the body process carbohydrates, converting the glucose in carbs into sugar.
7. Blackberries are good for your heart
According to scientific research, eating blackberries on a regular basis is good for cardiovascular health. Their fiber and antioxidant content both can be credited for reasons why, especially the polyphenols in blackberries, which are a specific type of antioxidants that benefit the body by fighting against harmful agents like ultraviolet rays, radiation, and some pathogens. Scientists found that when people upped their blackberry consumption, they had less oxidative stress and lower inflammation than they did before—especially for people who had a history of high blood pressure.
Unless you have an allergy or sensitivity, there are no known risks to eating blackberries. While you can of course eat them as is, there are also many ways to work them into your dishes, both savory and sweet. Keep reading for some ideas.
Recipes ideas for reaping the many blackberry benefits
Adding a handful of blackberries to your salad will completely transform its taste. Follow this simple recipe for a salad that's sure to come out absolutely delicious. Besides the berries and greens, it has goat cheese, green onion, sliced almonds, and a homemade vinaigrette.
2. Blackberry cobbler
Is there a more classic summer dessert than cobbler? The cobbler in this recipe only takes 10 minutes to prep—and the blackberries of course are the starring ingredient. It's also 100 percent vegan; soy milk is used in place of cow's milk. Top it off with some vegan vanilla ice cream for a truly next-level treat.
This summery cake is made with a trifecta of healthy berries: blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. That's a lot of antioxidants. There are lots of other nutrient-rich ingredients in this recipe too, including Greek yogurt, rolled oats, applesauce, eggs, and cinnamon. Here's the kicker: There's no refined sugar in this recipe, either.
Another recipe that's full of berries, including blackberries of course, is this whole wheat banana berry bread. The berries and banana give enough sweetness that the recipe doesn't call for any refined sugar all all. (A touch of honey and vanilla extract help on that front, too.) Make the loaf on Sunday and you'll have breakfast ready for the whole week.
For a more savory way to eat blackberries, try this Thai-inspired dish. The slight tartness from the berries adds a whole added layer of flavor to a dish that's already full of it. Not a meat eater? Simply swap the chicken for tofu.
Um, most underrated pizza topping ever? (Hey, it's no less weird than pineapple, right?) A bite of this pizza will make you a blackberry pizza believer. Use brie as your go-to cheese for this recipe; it pairs perfectly with the blackberries.
Share your favorite blackberry recipe in Well+Good's Cook With Us Facebook group.
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