Health Benefits of Raspberries & Blackberries

When you're looking for something to cure a sweet craving, fruit is a much better alternative than sugar-packed cookies, pastries and candy. Raspberries and blackberries offer numerous health benefits in addition to being low in calories. Raspberries contain 64 calories per cup, while blackberries weigh in at 62 per cup. Look to include both in your diet on a regular basis.

Blackberry and raspberry vines growing on a wall. Credit: fabioderby/iStock/Getty Images

Fruits With Fiber

Including ample fiber in your diet is extremely important, notes CNN's diet expert, Dr. Melina Jampolis, as fiber helps improve satiety and blood sugar control while lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Women need around 25 grams per day, and men need 38 grams. One cup of raspberries yields 9.2 grams of fiber, while 1 cup of blackberries provides 8.8 grams. Both provide roughly 35 percent of a woman's daily fiber needs and 24 percent of a man's.

Active Antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances found in foods that help to fight oxidation and damage caused by molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are a main cause of cell damage and aging, but a higher intake of antioxidants could protect against them. All fruits contain antioxidants, but gram for gram, berries are one of the best sources.

Getting Specific

Both raspberries and blackberries offer nutritional benefits in terms of fiber and antioxidants, but each also has further benefits. Both are high in catechins -- a compound that can help to oxidize fat. A study from a 2012 edition of the "Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry" also found that eating berries may help prevent age-related decline in brain function. Both are rich in vitamin C, which may help to protect against heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure.

Go Low

The glycemic index is a method used to measure how much a carbohydrate raises your blood sugar levels. Low-GI foods cause a much smaller rise in blood sugar levels, making them generally superior to high-GI foods. Both raspberries and blackberries are a low-GI fruit, as berries typically score between the low- and mid-20s on the glycemic index, notes nutritionist Mark Sisson. Low-GI foods are those that score 55 or less.

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