Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Fruit Of The Week - Blackberries

Fruit Information:
Sweet, succulent blackberries are summer delicacies in the northern temperate regions. As in raspberries, they grow on shrubs known as brambles in the vast rosaceae family bush berries. The plant is native to Europe and now grown at a commercial scale from North America, particularly in the USA, to as far as Siberia.
Binomially, the plant is a small perennial shrub belonging to the family Rosaceae, of the genus: Rubus. Botanical name: Rubus fruticosus. - Nutrition & You 

Folklore in the UK holds that blackberries should not be picked after Old Michaelmas Day (11 October) as the devil has claimed them, having left a mark on the leaves by urinating on them. There is some value behind this legend as wetter and cooler weather often allows the fruit to become infected by various molds such as Botryotinia which give the fruit an unpleasant look and may be toxic. - Michaelmas History & Traditions

Nutritional Benefits: 
Blackberries contain Xylitol, a low-calorie sugar substitute presents in the fruit fibers, absorbs more slowly than sugar, and does not contribute to high blood sugar levels. - Nutrition & You

Xylitol is a “tooth-friendly”, nonfermentable sugar alcohol. - Edwardsson S, Birkhed D, Mejare B

Xylitol has a plaque-reducing effect and suggests the compound, having some chemical properties similar to sucrose, attracts and then "starves" harmful micro-organisms, allowing the mouth to remineralize damaged teeth with less interruption. - Tanzer, JM 

Absorbed more slowly than sugar, Xylitol does not contribute to high blood sugar levels or the resulting hyperglycemia caused by insufficient insulin response. - Marti N, Funes LL, Saura D, Micol V

Xylitol also has potential as a treatment for osteoporosis. A group of Finnish researchers has found dietary xylitol prevents weakening of bones in laboratory rats, and actually improves bone density. - Mattila PT, Svanberg MJ, Jämsä T, Knuuttila ML 

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