3 Ways Blackberries Improve Gut Health
Take a wander out into the countryside at this time of year, and you’ll soon be greeted by clusters of jewel-like wild berries that are being hailed as the newest superfood for the gut.
The health wonder of blackberries is no new thing. In fact, one of the first lessons at nutrition school is that intensely-coloured fruits and veg deliver supremely powerful health benefits. Hidden within bright or deep colour pigments are antioxidant compounds that protect us from premature ageing, cellular damage and chronic disease.
More recently however, research has emerged that shows blackberries may also do wonders for your gut. And since gut health is at the root of good health overall, this is news to take notice of.
Here’s 3 ways blackberries can help your gut:
1. Blackberries feed your friendly bacteria
The trillions of tiny friendly bacteria that live in your gut have such wide ranging positive effects on your health that they are now considered almost to be an organ in their own right! Some foods harm the friendly bacteria, whilst others help them to thrive. Research has shown that blackberries help to feed friendly gut bacteria and support a diverse and balanced gut microbial environment.
2. Blackberries have gut-soothing, anti-inflammatory properties
The typical Western diet, high in sugar and saturated animal fats, tends to promote inflammation which, if left unchecked, can promote common chronic gut problems. Blackberries contain almost magical plant compounds called anthocyanins which are further broken down in the gut into smaller compounds which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory activity, helping to soothe a struggling gut.
3. Blackberries have natural anti-microbial properties
One study found that blackberry juice has anti-microbial effects against food-borne pathogens including Listeria, Salmonella and E. Coli. The results of the study showed that blackberry juice significantly inhibited the growth of these unwanted pathogens, and yet also stimulated the growth of friendly bacteria – a real win-win for your gut!
How to harness blackberry power for your gut …
You can munch blackberries fresh from the hedgerows, use them frozen and blend with kefir into a smoothie, or serve with some fresh coconut yoghurt and crushed hazelnuts for a divine dessert. You can also take blackberry extract in supplement form; in fact, the latest innovations in gut support products now include blackberry extract to harness these natural, soothing benefits. Whichever you choose, don’t miss out on getting some blackberry super powers in your diet!
1. Faria A, Fernandes I, Norberto S, Mateus N, Calhau C. Interplay between anthocyanins and gut microbiota. J Agric Food Chem 2014;62(29):6898–902.
2. Neyrinck AM, Van Hée VF, Bindels LB, De Backer F, Cani PD, Delzenne NM. Polyphenol-rich extract of pomegranate peel alleviates tissue inflammation and hypercholesterolaemia in high-fat diet-induced obese mice: potential implication of the gut microbiota. Br J Nutr 2013;109(5):802–9.
3. Espley RV, Butts CA, Laing WA, Martell S, Smith H, McGhie TK, et al. Dietary flavonoids from modified apple reduce inflammation markers and modulate gut microbiota in mice. J Nutr 2014;144(2):146–54
4. Boto-Ordóñez M, Urpi-Sarda M, Queipo-Ortuño MI, Tulipani S, Tinahones FJ, Andres-Lacueva C. High levels of Bifidobacteria are associated with increased levels of anthocyanin microbial metabolites: a randomized clinical trial. Food Funct 2014;5(8):1932–8.
5. Morais CA, Oyama LM, de Oliveira JL, Garcia MC, de Rosso VV, Amigo LSM, et al. Jussara (Euterpe edulis Mart.) supplementation during pregnancy and lactation modulates the gene and protein expression of inflammation biomarkers induced by trans-fatty acids in the colon of offspring. Mediators Inflamm 2014;2014:11, 987927.
6. Morais CA, Oyama LM, Conrado RM, de Rosso VV, Oller do Nacimento C, Pisani LP. Polyphenols-rich fruit in maternal diet modulates inflammatory markers and the gut microbiota and improves colonic expression of ZO-1 in offspring. Food Res Int 2015 [in press].
7. Sharma, A. K., Agarwal, V., Kumar, R., Chaurasia, H., Chaurasia, D., & Bhardwaj, P. (2011). Prebiotics: a review of therapeutic potential. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Invention, 1, 28–40.
8. Wang, S. Y., & Lin, H. S. (2000). Antioxidant activityin fruits and leaves of blackberry, raspberry, and strawberry varies with cultivar and developmental stage. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 48, 140–146.
9. Wu, X., Pittman, H. O., & Prior, R. L. (2004). Pelargonidin is absorbed and metabolized differently than cyanidin after marionberry consumption in pig. Journal of Nutrition, 134, 2603S–2610S.
10. Manach, C., Scalbert, A., Morand, C., Rémésy, C., & Jiménez, L. (2004). Polyphenols: food sources and bioavailability. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 79, 727–747.
11. McGhie, T. K., & Walton, M. C. (2007). The bioavailabilty and adsorption of anthocyanins: towards a better understanding. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 51, 702–713.
12. Espín JC, Larrosa M, García-Conesa MT, Tomás-Barberán FBiological Significance of Urolithins, the Gut Microbial Ellagic Acid-Derived Metabolites: The Evidence So Far Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2013, Article ID 270418, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/270418
13. Yang H, Hewes D, Salaheen S, Federman C, Biswas B Effects of blackberry juice on growth inhibition of foodborne pathogens and growth promotion of Lactobacillus. Food Control 37 (2014) 15-20
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