They’re delicious when tossed in a fruit salad, baked in a pie or sprinkled on a late-summer dessert – and they happen to be in peak season right now. Yep, few people can resist the sweet and moreish taste of a juicy blackberry.
These tiny, tasty fruits typically ripen from August to October, meaning you’ll see lots more of them on sale at local farmers’ markets and supermarkets over the coming weeks – or perhaps you’ll find them growing wild in hedgerows.
And while fashionable blueberries might be famed among the Instagram foodie scene for their superfood status, the humble blackberry offers just as many benefits. Here are just a few reasons to snack on a punnet of blackberries this autumn.
1. They’re packed with vitamin C
As we approach cold and flu season, plenty of us will be looking for ways to boost our immunity through our diet. Notably, blackberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps protect cells against damage, support the immune system and maintain healthy skin and blood vessels.
The NHS say adults need around 40mg of vitamin C per day. As 100g of blackberries typically provides 21mg, adding a generous handful of blackberries to your morning porridge will make big inroads into that daily target.
2. They’re loaded with antioxidants
Antioxidant-rich foods are important to include in your diet. This is because they help protect to protect your cells against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals – harmful molecules that are produced by lifestyle factors like drinking alcohol or exposure to pollution and sunlight.
A 2008 study found that blackberries, along with pomegranate, blueberries and raspberries, have the highest cellular antioxidant activity of all commonly consumed fruits.
3. They’re full of flavanoids
Flavanoids are phytonutrients (plant chemicals) that give blackberries their deep purple colour. As well as having powerful anti-inflammatory properties, some research suggests that consuming them can ease the symptoms of a nasty cough or cold.
For instance, a 2015 study from the University of Auckland found that people were 33% more protected from colds and upper respiratory tract infections if they regularly ate foods containing flavanoids compared with those who didn’t.
4. They’re good for your brain
If you want to optimise your nutrition during a tough exam period or you need to knuckle down at work, paying attention to your diet can really help – and blackberries are a great desk-side snack for this reason.
According to research, berries may help to improve brain brain function. A 2011 study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that blackberry extract may provide a protective effect on the brain, preventing age-related memory loss and improving memory and learning.
5. They can keep your heart healthy
When it comes to your heart, what you eat matters. Studies have suggested that the high flavonoid foods, like blackberries, may help to protect our cardiovascular health, making it a true heart-healthy ingredient.
Essentially, a handful of blackberries a day may keep the doctor away – so make the most of this autumnal treat.