Blackberry Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Blackberries annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Blackberries are a low-carbohydrate fruit. They're considered a superfood that packs a major nutritional punch along with bright flavor and intense color. Blackberries may protect against heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. They contain phytochemicals called anthocyanins, which can protect cells from free radicals. Their deep purple hue increases their antioxidant power. Blackberries are also an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, and manganese.

Blackberry Nutrition Facts

Nutrition information for 1 cup (144g) of blackberries is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 62
  • Fat: 0.7g
  • Sodium: 1mg
  • Carbohydrates: 13.8g
  • Fiber: 7.6g
  • Sugars: 7g
  • Protein: 2g​

Carbs

One cup of blackberries contains 13.8 grams of carbohydrate of which 7.6 grams are fiber. While many of the carbs in blackberries are from simple carbohydrates, namely sugars like fructose, glucose, and sucrose, they also contain complex carbohydrates that are slowly metabolized and have less impact on your blood sugar. This means that blackberries have a glycemic index (GI) of only 25.

Even more impressively, one serving of blackberries delivers 31% of your daily dietary fiber needs. Some are in the form of insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to your stool and helps keep you regular, and others are soluble fiber, which aids in digestion and slows the absorption of sugar and fat into the bloodstream. 

Fat

Blackberries are virtually fat-free. What few fats blackberries contain are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, healthy fats that reduce vascular inflammation and improve heart health.

Protein

Blackberries don't offer all that much in the way of protein. To help boost your protein intake, try eating blueberries with Greek yogurt (17 grams per 170-gram serving) or oatmeal (6 grams per cup, cooked).

Vitamins and Minerals

A single serving of blackberries provides about half of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C, as well as the mineral manganese. Both are highly potent antioxidants that reduce the oxidative stress to cells by ridding the body of free radicals. They do so by breaking the bond between free radicals and other molecules that can otherwise destabilize and damage cells.

Blackberries are also an excellent source of vitamin K and offer a modest amount of potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, iron, and calcium.

Health Benefits 

There is a lot of scientific interest in the role of anthocyanins and other flavonoids in the prevention of disease. Anthocyanin is the pigment that gives blackberries and other blue, violet, or red fruits and vegetables their color. Its antioxidative properties are believed to help slow or prevent a number of metabolic and aging-related diseases.

May Lower Cholesterol

Research suggests that the anthocyanins in the berries of the Rubus genus (which include blackberries and raspberries) can reduce the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by 50%, corresponding to a significant reduction in atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and heart disease.

May Protect Against Some Cancers

The same study reported that anthocyanins inhibited the growth of breast cancer cells by 24%, stomach cancer cells by 37%, colon cancer cells by 50%, and lung cancer cells by 54%. While this does not mean that blackberries can alter the course of any cancer once it develops, it does hint at the protective benefit of an anthocyanin-rich diet.

Prevents Gum Infections

Research on blackberry extract concluded that it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that might be able to prevent or treat periodontal infections.

Supports Strong Bones

Blackberries deliver 32% of your daily vitamin K needs, which your body uses to make platelets for normal blood clotting and proteins for healthy bones. Vitamin K may help prevent osteoporosis and osteopenia. The manganese in blackberries is also important for bone development.

Promotes Brain Health

There is also preliminary evidence that anthocyanins may help slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Though the evidence is far from conclusive, anthocyanin appears to suppress the toxicity of beta-amyloid deposits in the brain. These are the compounds that interrupt neural pathways and damage brain cells, triggering the development of Alzheimer's. 

According to a 2016 study published in Nutritional Neuroscience, mice fed a diet consisting of a 1% anthocyanin extract experienced a change in the composition of beta-amyloids in the brain. Rather than soluble beta-amyloid (the type associated with Alzheimer's), mice fed anthocyanins had more insoluble beta-amyloid plaques (considered less toxic and damaging to the brain).

Allergies

Blackberries contain several known allergens, although reports of true food allergy to blackberries are rare. Salicylates are naturally occurring chemicals found in blackberries that are related to aspirin. If you are allergic to or intolerant of aspirin, you may develop allergy symptoms after eating the fruit. Symptoms tend to develop within minutes and may include:

  • Itchy skin
  • Hives or rash
  • Tingling sensations on your face
  • Sinus congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes

Most cases are relatively mild and tend to resolve on their own. If needed, over-the-counter antihistamines may help alleviate symptoms.

Anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening, all-body allergic reaction, is rarely associated with blackberries; few cases have been noted in medical literature. If it does occur, it is generally seen in people with a known blueberry allergy. Call 911 if you experience shortness of breath, lightheadedness, facial swelling, rapid heart rate, and vomiting after eating blackberries.

Many different kinds of mold can trigger a mold allergy. Fungal contamination of berries most commonly occurs in the field. A random survey revealed that mold growth in blackberries and raspberries were the highest among all of the tested berries and grapes. Thorough washing of blackberries prior to eating may reduce the risk of an allergic response to mold.

Adverse Effects

There are no known drug interactions with blackberries, though people who are sensitive to aspirin may want to avoid them.

One of the more common gripes about blackberries is that they can turn your teeth an off-putting purple. To avoid staining, don't let the fruit residue linger in your mouth for too long. If you are drinking a shake made with blackberries, use a straw. After eating, rinse your mouth with water and brush your teeth as soon as possible.

Varieties

Aside from their color difference, blackberries can be distinguished from raspberries by their shape. Blackberries are larger and longer, more oval than rounder raspberries. Raspberries and blackberries are botanically related (they are both from the Rubus family). You may also come across hybrids of blackberries and raspberries, such as Loganberries.

Blackberries can also be found frozen, and make a great, more affordable addition to smoothies and baked goods than fresh options.

When They're Best

While blackberries can be found year-round in many grocery stores, their peak season is from early June to late August.

When choosing fresh blackberries, let color be your guide. Only choose those that are deeply colored. Those that are red or paler purple are not yet ripe. While you can ripen the fruit at room temperature, once the fruit is picked, it will not get any sweeter. 

Ripe blackberries should have a pleasant aroma. Avoid blackberries that are soft, dull in color, have a mildew-y smell, or have evidence of mold.

Storage and Food Safety

Once you have purchased blackberries, try to eat them within a day or so. You can extend their life by refrigerating them, but the flavor will be far more intense if they are served at room temperature. If you cannot eat them immediately, you can freeze the berries for up to a year. Freezing them does not alter their nutritional value.

To prevent blackberries from getting moldy, refrain from washing until right before serving. Do not eat any that taste off or mildewy.

How to Prepare

Blackberries can be eaten on their own or paired with yogurt, cereals, or ice cream. They can add a sprightly note to salads and pair beautifully with lemon desserts, such as cheesecake or custard. They are also delicious in baked goods and smoothies. Their high pectin content makes them the ideal choice for jams, jellies, and preserves as well. You can use blackberries in most any recipe calling for berries (like strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries).

Recipes

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Article Sources
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