health and blackberries

One of the first things you discover when looking for health information on blackberries is that most articles that discuss the subject are actually basing what they say on the positive health benefits of berries in general rather than blackberries in particular. And the second is that the Blackberry mobile phone makes internet searches really tricky – even when you’re looking at peer-reviewed papers from medical journals.

But that aside, there is no doubt of the healthy properties of blackberries. They’re rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, zinc and they’re high in fibre. But it’s the polyphenols, flavonoids, anthocyanins, salicylic acid, ellagic acid and other nutrients that are really interesting. These have diverse health effect and help to drive the strong anti-oxidant properties of the berries.

Some examples of recent research on blackberries include the finding that they can help control gastric inflammation, had anti-viral properties against the herpes simplex virus and, in the test tube at least, blackberry extracts show potent anti-cancer properties. The most striking piece of recent research showed that blackberry extracts caused a significant reduction in glucose levels in diabetic rats. That said, there really is very little research that focuses on the blackberry rather than blueberries, for example.

Still, there’s no dispute that blackberries are good for you, and that they taste great.


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brilliant blackberries

Although it’s getting late in the season, there are still plenty of ripe, sweet blackberries out for the picking (at least in the south of the UK). Given how versatile and tasty blackeberries are it’s always amazing to find that there are so many of them out there for free – especially as they are so expensive in the shops. Add to this the health benefits of berries and there can be no argument – get out and grab some while you can.

The trick is to find a decent spot that hasn’t been picked clean. And you don’t need to be in the heart of the country to take advantage. Urban and suburban spots with plenty of cover and green space can be good spots – particularly places close to stream and canals, big parks, cemeteries and so on. Good times to pick are early in the morning or late afternoons in the middle of the week.

We’ll be looking at the health benefits of blackberries, along with other berries and fruits, in later posts. For now, there are still opportunities to go out and pick (as you can see from the photo, there are still lots of berries that are red and ripening up.


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