Calcium Content of Blackberries

Overview

Grown in Europe for thousands of years, blackberries were already used by American Indians for medicinal purposes as well as food when the first settlers crossed the Atlantic. You can appreciate blackberries for their earthy wine-like taste and health benefits including vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Compared to other fruits, blackberries rank among the highest in calcium content.

Quantity

One cup of fresh blackberries contains 46mg of calcium, according to Kathleen Mahan and Sylvia Escott-Stump in the text “Krause’s Food, Nutrition & Diet Therapy.” This compares favorably with 21mg of calcium in 1 cup of strawberries, 9mg in 1 cup of blueberries or 10mg of calcium in one apple.

The calcium content in 1 cup of blackberries is similar to the 52mg of calcium in an orange but considerably less than the 71mg of calcium in 1 cup of seedless raisins and substantially less than the 291mg of calcium in 1 cup of whole milk. The adequate intake, or AI, of calcium for adults ages 31 to 50 is 1,000mg per day, so blackberries alone do not supply enough calcium, but they do contribute calcium and other benefits to a healthy diet.

Function

Calcium, found primarily in the bones and teeth, also plays a vital role in muscle contraction, blood clotting, nerve impulses, hormone secretion and enzyme activation. Calcium also helps maintain normal blood pressure.

Other Health Benefits

Besides calcium, blackberries contain vitamin C and fiber that reduce the risk of certain cancers. The antioxidants in blackberries help fight free-radical tissue damage in the body. Heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats abound in the many chewable seeds of blackberries. Blackberries make a good source of vitamin A, potassium and iron. As an “aggregate fruit,” composed of many individual subdivisions, each with a seed and skin, the structure of blackberries makes it among the highest-fiber plants. A diet rich in fiber may help prevent some cancers and lower risk of diabetes.

Selection

Blackberries should be selected for color, plumpness and a bright, fresh appearance. The more intense the color, the sweeter the blackberries. To retain the nutrients in blackberries, select firm berries and eat or freeze them within two to three days of purchase because of their very short shelf life. Frozen berries last approximately one year.

Avoid containers of berries that have juice stains. That sign of crushing may mean moldy berries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also avoid berries that feel too soft and overripe or dry as if stored too long.

Preparation

One or two moldy berries will spoil the rest, so any that have mold should be removed before storing. Store in the refrigerator and wash and drain just before serving.

Blackberries can be enjoyed in a bowl, as cobbler or in blackberry wine. Frozen blackberries can be added to pancake or cake batter or used to make blackberry jellies and jams. You can enjoy blackberry dumplings, pudding , pie and shortcake. You can also plant your own blackberries in the yard.

About this Author

Norma DeVault, a registered dietitian, has been writing health-related articles since 2006. Her articles have appeared in the “Journal of the American Dietetic Association.” She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in human environmental sciences from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Tulsa.