The Power of Blackberries
Growing up as a kid, my brother, sister and I had all kinds of fruits and vegetables growing in our backyard. One of my fondest memories is picking and eating raspberries and blackberries right off the bushes! I was particularly fond of the blackberries. These days, the lowly blackberries are overshadowed by fan favorites: strawberries and blueberries. While they are ALL good and all contain a powerhouse of health benefits, I feel compelled to talk about blackberries.
This probably stems from the fact that I recently reviewed a wonderful cozy mystery (see book review category), Blackberry Burial by Sharon Farrow. Throughout the book Ms. Farrow scatters interesting tidbits on blackberries. The one that really got my attention was the fact that one of their many qualities is that they can have a “skin tightening effect!”
While I was putting a lot of blueberries, strawberries and bananas in my smoothies, I shamefully had overlooked blackberries. So I immediately ran out and got a pint of these deep, dark luscious berries.
Frankly I had forgotten how wonderful they taste. Grab a handful as a snack or toss in a smoothie. Add them to your morning cereal or use as a topping over vanilla ice cream or shortcake. Bake into muffins – the possibilities are endless!
Just like other berries, they should be nice and sweet. But just like other berries, if they are picked too early they can be more bitter than sweet. When I’ve come across bitter berries, I put them in a smoothie and add a little honey or extra vanilla ice-cream to take away the bitterness.
There are so many reasons to include blackberries in your diet. Here are a few their health benefits:
- Contain high levels of antioxidants that help the body fight against the adverse effects of free radicals (free radicals can damage cells).
- Contain high levels of Vitamin C, necessary to help the body produce collagen and strengthen the immune system.
- Good source of 2 types of fiber. Blackberries contain soluble fiber associated with lowering blood sugar levels and maintaining a healthy cholesterol level. They also contain insoluble fiber that helps promote healthy digestion.
- High in Vitamin A, a vitamin that supports your immune system and the maintenance of teeth, bones and eyesight.
- Good source of Vitamin K, a nutrient known for blood clotting. IMPORTANT: If you are on blood thinners, always consult with your doctor to discuss your personal Vitamin K daily intake.
NOTE: Berries are fruit and do contain natural sugar. Eat fruit in moderation to maintain healthy sugar levels.