What are blackberries?
Blackberries are an edible fruit, commonly found in the UK from the end of the summer until October, they’re often seen growing in woodland and hedgerows. Each berry, when ripe, is made up of 20-50 single seeds known as drupelets that are small, juice-filled and a deep purplish black colour. Technically, they are an ‘aggregate fruit’ rather than a berry.
An 80g serving provides:
20kcal / 83 KJ
12mg Vitamin C
An 80g serving that’s around 10 blackberries count towards one of your five-a-day. Take a look at our infographic to find out more about what counts as 5-a-day.
Top 5 healthy benefits
1. May protect against heart disease
Blackberries are a rich source of anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that give them their deep purple colour. One study demonstrated that an anthocyanin extract found in blackberry juice provided protective effects against heart disease. These little berries are also rich in vitamin C and potassium, both of which support a healthy cardiovascular system.
Read more about what to eat for a healthy heart.
2. May help prevent cancer
While there is no single ‘superfood’ that can prevent cancer, and certain risk factors for cancer are unrelated to diet, there is evidence that eating a healthy diet can reduce the risk of cancer.
A study published by the Nutrition & Cancer Journal also found that certain fresh blackberry extracts may help prevent tumour growth and the spread of cancer, although more research is required.
3. May boost brainpower
An animal study by the Nutritional Neuroscience Journal found that including blackberries regularly in the diet improved both motor and cognitive function which may provide benefits in humans. If you like foraging for your berries then a study by the European Journal of Nutrition will be of interest; they found that consuming wild blackberries may provide a protective effect on the brain thanks to their rich polyphenol content. It is also worth noting that blackberries are a good source of the mineral manganese which plays an important role in brain function, deficiencies of this mineral have been found to increase the risk of conditions such as epilepsy.
Discover the 10 foods that can boost your brainpower.
4. May be anti-inflammatory
There have been several studies examining the anti-inflammatory effects of blackberries, which suggest they may offer protection against inflammatory conditions like arthritis, although more research is needed. One study in particular documented that blackberries reduced inflammation in gastric conditions, such as stomach ulcers, by as much as 88%.
Discover Arthritis Research UK’s top 5 diet tips to ease arthritis.
5. May support oral health
A 2013 study by the Journal of Periodontal Research found that blackberries have antibacterial properties, as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects. This potentially may offer a natural therapy approach against tooth infections. Blackberries also appear to have antiviral properties – research has shown that blackberry extract could help to treat cold sores when applied topically.
Are blackberries safe for everyone?
Allergies to blackberries are rare. Although the berry is a member of the Rosaceae family, which is known for cross reactivity allergies, especially for those who suffer with birch pollen allergy, there have been no reports relating to blackberries. This suggests that blackberries are safe for most people. However, if you have a sensitivity to salicylates you should be aware that blackberries are a source of these natural chemicals.
This article was reviewed on 29th July 2021 by Kerry Torrens.
Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist (MBANT) with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.
Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at urbanwellness.co.uk.
All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.