Blackberries are purple-hued fruits that are packed with health-supporting nutrients.
In addition to providing fiber, vitamins, and minerals, blackberries are one of the richest sources of anthocyanin pigments, which are compounds that have powerful cellular-protective properties.
Including blackberries in your diet is a delicious way to care for your health, and eating these fruits regularly may reduce your risk of several health conditions, including heart disease.
Here’s everything you need to know about blackberries, including their nutrition and potential health benefits, and tips for how to include these tasty berries in your diet.
One of the main health benefits of blackberries is that they’re packed with nutrients known to support health, such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Just one cup of blackberries contains nearly 8 grams (g) of fiber, which covers 28.5% of the Daily Value (DV) for this important nutrient. Following a high-fiber diet can benefit your gut health by fueling the growth of beneficial bacteria in your large intestines, supporting a healthy gut barrier, and encouraging regular and comfortable bowel movements.
Eating a high-fiber diet may also help protect against digestive conditions such as colon cancer and diverticulitis.
Blackberries also provide an array of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, folate, manganese, vitamin K, and magnesium, all of which play essential roles in health.
For example, folate is a B vitamin necessary for the maturation of red blood cells, cellular division, and other critical processes. Folate needs increase by 50% during pregnancy due to this vitamin’s role in fetal growth and development. For this reason, blackberries make an excellent fruit choice for pregnant people.
Blackberries contain a variety of plant compounds that help protect cells against oxidative damage by reducing reactive compounds called free radicals and inhibiting inflammation.
Blackberries are rich in phenolic compounds such as ellagic acid and quercetin, as well as anthocyanin pigments, which give blackberries their saturated purple color.
Anthocyanin intake has been linked to a number of health benefits, and eating anthocyanin-rich foods regularly may lower your risk of developing diseases associated with with oxidative stress, a condition that occurs when harmful compounds such as free radicals overwhelm the body’s antioxidant defenses, such as heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases.
In a 2020 study that evaluated the total phenolic and anthocyanin contents and the total antioxidant activity of six different berries: blackcurrant, red raspberry, redcurrant, blackberry, gooseberry, and jostaberry, it was found that the blackberries had the highest antioxidant and anthocyanin levels out of all of the included berries.
Blackberries also inhibit certain pro-inflammatory pathways in the body, like the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) signaling pathway, and decrease levels of inflammatory proteins. Because of their anti-inflammatory effects, blackberries may be helpful for those with inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Heart disease risk is determined by several factors, including genetics and heart disease risk factors such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Following a diet high in foods that provide nutrients known to protect and support heart health, such as fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, can help reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering certain heart disease risk factors.
Berries are a concentrated source of heart-protective compounds, such as fiber and anthocyanins, and studies show that regularly eating berries, like blackberries, is an effective way to support heart health.
In a 2015 study that included 72 people with high blood lipid levels, the participants who were supplemented with 300 milliliters (ml) of blackberry juice with pulp per day for eight weeks experienced significant reductions in compounds associated with increased heart disease risk, including apolipoprotein B and the inflammatory marker high-sensitivity C-reactive protein compared to a control group. The blackberry treatment also significantly increased levels of heart-protective HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein A, a protein that helps HDL remove bad cholesterol from the bloodstream.
What’s more, a 2021 review of 59 studies found that high dietary intake of anthocyanin-rich foods, including berries, was related to a 17% reduced risk of coronary heart disease, a 27% reduced risk of total heart disease incidence, and a 9% lower risk of total heart disease-related death.
Regular fruit intake, including berry consumption, has also been associated with a lower risk of several other diseases, such as certain cancers and type 2 diabetes.
Blackberries are low in calories, yet rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Here’s the nutrition breakdown for a one-cup serving of raw blackberries:
- Calories: 61.9
- Carbohydrates: 13.8 g
- Protein: 2 g
- Fat: 0.7 g
- Fiber: 7.63 g
- Sugars: 7 g
- Folate: 36 micrograms (mcg) or 9% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Pantothenic acid: 0.397 milligrams (mg) or 8% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 30.2 mg or 34% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 28.5 mcg or 24% of the DV
- Magnesium: 28.8 mg or 7% of the DV
- Manganese: 0.93 mg or 40% of the DV
Blackberries contain a variety of nutrients, but are a particularly good source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese.
Fiber is important for digestion and heart health, and helps you feel satisfied after meals.
Currently, it’s recommended that adult women and men under the age of 50 consume 25 g and 38 g of fiber per day, respectively. Unfortunately, research shows that the average American only consumes about 15 g of fiber per day, which is well below the recommended intake.
Just one cup of blackberries provides nearly eight grams of fiber, which covers a significant chunk of your daily fiber needs.
Blackberries are also rich in vitamin C, a nutrient with powerful antioxidant properties that’s essential for immune function, and vitamin K, which plays important roles in skeletal health and blood clotting.
Additionally, these berries are a good source of the mineral manganese, a nutrient that’s involved in energy metabolism, and immune and nervous system function. They also provide smaller amounts of folate, magnesium, and some B vitamins.
Blackberries are a nutritious food and are safe for most people. However, it’s possible to have a blackberry allergy.
What’s more, blackberries are high in compounds called salicylates, a group of chemicals derived from salicylic acid. Some people are sensitive to these compounds and develop symptoms such as a stuffy nose, abdominal pain, and hives after consuming salicylate-rich foods.
Salicylate sensitivity is more common in people with certain medical conditions, including asthma.
Blackberries have a sweet taste and can be enjoyed fresh or cooked.
Frozen blackberries make a convenient and cost-effective choice as they can be kept in the freezer for long-term storage and added to recipes like smoothies and baked goods.
Here are a few ways to incorporate blackberries into your diet:
- Add fresh blackberries to yogurt, oatmeal, and chia pudding
- Give smoothies a hint of natural sweetness with a handful of frozen blackberries
- Use fresh or frozen blackberries in baked goods such as muffins and breads
- Make blackberry jam using frozen blackberries, chia seeds, and maple syrup
- Toss fresh or frozen blackberries into still or sparkling water for a boost of flavor
- Add blackberries to savory salads
- Cook down fresh or frozen blackberries and use them to sweeten dressings and sauces
There are many other ways to enjoy blackberries, so don’t be afraid to experiment with these versatile berries in sweet and savory recipes.
Blackberries are popular fruits that offer a variety of health benefits. These dark-purple berries are loaded with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds such as anthocyanins and also deliver nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, and folate.
Regularly consuming blackberries may help improve and protect your health by lowering heart disease risk factors, reducing inflammatory markers, and providing essential nutrients that your body needs to support optimal health.
Try stocking your kitchen with fresh or frozen blackberries and adding these nutritious fruits to recipes like oatmeal, smoothies, and baked goods for a delicious way to care for your health.