Feb 19, 2014
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Blackberries

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(Boysenberries, dewberries, youngberries)

Nutritional Profile

Energy value (calories per serving): Low

Protein: Low

Fat: Low

Saturated fat: Low Cholesterol: None Carbohydrates: High Fiber: Moderate Sodium: Low

Major vitamin contribution:

Vitamin A, vitamin C

Major mineral contribution: Calcium

About the Nutrients in This Food

Blackberries have no starch but do contain sugars and dietary fiber, pri- marily pectin, which dissolves as the fruit matures. Unripe blackberries contain more pectin than ripe ones.

One-half cup fresh blackberries has 3.8 g dietary fiber, 15 mg vitamin C (20 percent of the R DA for a woman, 17 percent of the R DA for a man), and 18 mcg folate (5 percent of the R DA).

The Most Nutritious Way to Serve This Food

Fresh or lightly cooked.

Buying This Food

Look for: Plump, firm dark berries with no hulls. A firm, well-rounded berry is still moist and fresh; older berries lose moisture, which is why their skin wrinkles.

Avoid: Baskets of berries with juice stains or liquid leaking out of the berries. The stains and leaks are signs that there are crushed—and possibly moldy—berries inside.

Storing This Food

Cover berries and refrigerate them. Then use them in a day or two.

Do not wash berries before storing. The moisture collects in spaces on the surface of the berries that may mold in the refrigerator. Also, handling the berries may damage their cells, releasing enzymes that can destroy vitamins.

Preparing This Food

R inse the berries under cool running water, then drain them and pick them over carefully to remove all stems and leaves.

What Happens When You Cook This Food

Cooking destroys some of the vitamin C in fresh blackberries and lets water-soluble B vitamins leach out. Cooked berries are likely to be mushy because the heat and water dis- solve their pectin and the skin of the berry collapses. Cooking may also change the color of blackberries, which contain soluble red anthocyanin pigments that stain cooking water and turn blue in basic (alkaline) solutions. Adding lemon juice to a blackberry pie stabilizes these pigments; it is a practical way to keep the berries a deep, dark reddish blue.

How Other Kinds of Processing Affect This Food

Canning. The intense heat used in canning fruits reduces the vitamin C content of black- berries. Berries packed in juice have more nutrients, ounce for ounce, than berries packed in either water or syrup.

Medical Uses and/or Benefits

Anticancer activity. Blackberries are rich in anthocyanins, bright-red plant pigments that act as antioxidants—natural chemicals that prevent free radicals (molecular fragments) from joining to form carcinogenic (cancer-causing) compounds. Some varieties of blackberries also contain ellagic acid, another anticarcinogen with antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Adverse Effects Associated with This Food

Allergic reaction. Hives and angioedema (swelling of the face, lips, and eyes) are common allergic responses to berries, virtually all of which have been known to trigger allergic

reactions. According to the Merck Manual, berries are one of the 12 foods most likely to trigger classic food allergy symptoms. The others are chocolate, corn, eggs, fish, legumes (peas, lima beans, peanuts, soybeans), milk, nuts, peaches, pork, shellfish, and wheat (see w h eat cer ea ls).

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