Sep 20, 2011

Five ways blackberries heal and protect the body


Learn about the amazing health benefits of these antioxidant-rich berries and try them in this easy and healthy parfait recipe


Chatelaine
  • By Julie Daniluk, R.H.N. Mon Sep 12 2011


Most people eat more when they're stressed, but what if you could eat your stress away? Try it out by grabbing some blackberries, which boost your energy and can counteract the damaging effects of anxiety on your body. They’re a great source of vitamin C, which can help your adrenal glands cope when life gets hectic.

Blackberries are more tart than raspberries, and these late-summer berries are also higher in antioxidants — molecules that fight cell-damaging free radicals and help to repair and protect your body from the effects of stress.

Read on for five ways that blackberries help heal your body:

1. How do blackberries lower stress levels?: Polyphenol compounds found in blackberries have been shown to limit the release of catecholamines. One example of a catecholamine is adrenaline, which is released from your adrenal glands when you are stressed out. An excess of adrenaline increases blood pressure, which makes blackberries a remedy for hypertension, headaches and anxiety.

2. These berries are packed with manganese: Manganese has the ability to improve antioxidant status in the muscles that make up the heart. These muscles are exposed to a lot of stress and need an extremely high amount of antioxidants to maintain optimal function and prevent damage, especially in the incidence of a heart attack.

3. Prevent respiratory infections with blackberries: Blackberries are a great source of vitamin C, which is well known for its ability to boost the immune system and prevent against respiratory infections. Stock up on blackberries during this change of season to prevent the fall flu.

4. Blackberries are high in vitamin K: Much study has been done on vitamin D, but now we're learning more about its synergistic effects with vitamin K. Vitamin K is necessary for optimal bone health, the prevention of fractures, reduction of inflammation, improved insulin resistance and overall immunity.

5. Blackberries are great for the kidneys: Blackberries are in a family of plants called Rubus (or Rosaceae) which have the ability to protect the kidneys against damage and prevent cell death. These berries are also used in ancient Chinese medicine to boost libido.



Blackberry parfait
This large parfait can be made for a delicious breakfast — or it can be halved for a yummy snack. Enjoy it using fresh or frozen berries — but fresh are recommended when available.

Ingredients:
2 cups (500 mL) blackberries
2 cups (500 mL) peaches, sliced
2 cups (500 mL) vanilla or plain yogurt
4 tbsp (60 mL) pumpkin seeds
3 tbsp (45 mL) maple syrup

Directions:

1. Place half of the yogurt in the bottom of bowl.

2. Place a layer of blackberries and peaches.

3. Add the other half of the yogurt, then another layer of fruit.

4. Top with pumpkin seeds and maple syrup.
Makes four servings

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