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Calcium Content Of Blackberries and Elderberry



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.

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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 the risk of diabetes.

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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 a 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 shortcakes. You can also plant your own blackberries in the yard.

 ELDERBERRY 

Elderberry, or elder, has traditional uses as a topical solution for wound treatment and as an internal remedy for respiratory illness and other disorders. Chemicals in the berries and flowers of these small trees may decrease swelling in mucous membranes, such as the sinuses, and relieve nasal congestion, as explained by the University of Maryland Medical Center. Several contraindications should be taken into account if you’re considering using elderberry as an herbal remedy.

Diuretic and Laxative

People have used elderberry traditionally as a diuretic. The National Institutes of Health notes that this effect may occur with high doses or long-term use of elderflowers as an internal remedy. Anyone taking diuretics, or medications or supplements that interact with diuretics, should be cautious about using elder supplements, according to the NIH. Excessive diuretic effects can lead to dehydration and electrolyte depletion. Additionally, elders may have laxative properties, so you may not want to use it when also taking a laxative.