Unlike blueberries which are Native to North America, blackberries are native to Europe but cultivation increased dramatically in the United States in the mid-1800s when blackberries were introduced to the Oregon Territory. They are now grown across the United States all year round. Blackberries pack a nutritional punch by being excellent sources of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium and manganese. 1 cup of blackberries has ~ 8 grams of fiber and ~40% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C for adults.
While blackberries contain all these beneficial nutrients, they are also low in fructose compared to most other fruits. In general, fruits are a combination of simple sugars – fructose, sucrose and glucose- with berries being considered a low fructose fruit – most of the sugar is coming from glucose which is easier to digest and tolerate compared to fructose.
Like blueberries, blackberries also contain the polyphenol – anthocyanin – which is a plant-based compound that gives blackberries their beautiful purple color and is a potent antioxidant. Blackberries have one of the highest ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) scores, a measure of antioxidant potency, of all foods. Antioxidants are compounds that protect against oxidative cell damage and the creation of free radicals. Oxidative damage and free radical production naturally occur with age, stress and environmental factors such as sun exposure and toxins. While oxidative damage is an unavoidable part of everyday life, the antioxidants in blackberries can help neutralize some of this free radical damage which may lead to improved overall health but also a reduced risk of chronic disease. Studies suggest that consuming foods with high ORAC scores may slow the aging process. Antioxidants have been shown to work best when combined with fiber and other polyphenols found in plant foods which supports getting antioxidants through food sources versus dietary supplements.
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