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Blackberries are shrubs that belong to the rose family, and loganberries are a hybrid of the blackberry. The deep blue and purple colors of blackberries are a leading disease fighting pigment. Foods rich in this brilliant blue color, the anthocyannin pigment, mop up more free radicals in the body than any other food, protecting against disease.
Blackberries are high in antioxidants: an in vitro study found that blackberries had the highest antioxidant capacity when compared with blueberries, cranberries, strawberries and raspberries. They are also rich in Vitamin C, fiber and into the phytochemicals tannin, flavonoid, and cyanidin, as well as ellagic acid, all which have anticarcinogenic properties. Cooking does not seem to destroy ellagic acid, so even blackberry jams and desserts retain ellagic acid health benefits. Blackberries also contain catechins such as quercetin, which is an antioxidant that can reduce the risk of heart disease and stop the action of histamine for people with allergies.
The astringent leaves of the blackberry contain antiseptic tannins, and chopped and used as tea they're an excellent mouthwash for gum problems and infections like gingivitis, as well as an effective gargle for sore throats. The dried leaves soaked in boiled water are also used as an effective remedy for diarrhea.
Breast and Cervical Cancer
Blackberries have recently been pinpointed as a leading source of compounds thought to produce health benefits for women, due to their high concentrations of phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens, or plant estrogens, are of particular interest because of their roll in prevention of both breast and cervical cancer. Studies now associate blackberries with containing some of the highest levels of phytoestrogens, which act as a natural form of estrogen. Studies in Finland measured eight different berries for their phytoestrogen level, and concluded that blackberries had the highest levels, followed by strawberries.
Colon and Liver Cancer
Studies done on human lung cancer cells have shown that blackberry extracts inhibited further growth of the cancer. A rat study demonstrated for the first time that an anthocyanin extract from blackberries (cyaniding-3-glucoside) inhibited tumor promotion and metastasis (the spreading of cancer cells).
Tips for Using Blackberries
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