This week marks an exciting time in blackberry history. Research In Motion (RIM) officially changed its name to BlackBerry, and presented its new smartphone running 'the next-generation platform,' BlackBerry 10, to the world.
So in light of the new developments, we thought it would be a good time to look at 10 things you might not know about blackberries... the fruit. Although the smartphone BlackBerry has received mixed reviews, the fruit has loads of benefits for everyone - iPhone, Android and BB diehards alike.
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1) Much like spinach, raisins, apples, plums and grapes, blackberries are rich in bioflavonoids and Vitamin C, but other nutritional benefits include a very low sodium count and having only 62 calories to a cup.
2) The dark blue colour ensures blackberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits. Antioxidants, well-known for lowering the risk of a number of cancers, are a huge bonus, but be aware the berries are best consumed in their natural state to get the full benefits.
3) The berries are known by a variety of names, which include brambleberries, bramble, dewberry, thimbleberry and lawers.
4) Consumption of blackberries can help to promote the healthy tightening of tissue, which is a great non-surgical procedure to make skin look younger. Prolonged consumption also helps keeps your brain alert, thereby maintaining clarity of thought and good memory.
5) The high tannin content of blackberries provides a number of benefits to reduce intestinal inflammation, alleviate hemorrhoids and soothe the effects of diarrhea. It is important to incorporate berries in your diet in a variety of ways. Have them as a snack or in your cereal or even as a smoothie.
6) Traditionally, the leaves and barks of the plant have also been consumed. The leaves of blackberries have been used to treat mild inflammation of the gums and sometimes even sore throats.
7) The astringent tannins are effective in oral hygiene when used as a gargle or mouthwash.
8) The leaves can also be used in a refreshing cup of tea or enhanced as a therapeutic drink. Not everyone will like the flavour, so to mask the bitter taste, honey or another form of sweetener may be added.
9) The healthy dose of Vitamin K aids in muscle relaxing, so some women use the berries to alleviate labour pains. As part of a regular diet, the juice can also be used to regulate menstruation as it is very effective in helping blood to clot.
10) And finally, if you have noticed that your blackberry plant has turned orange, destroy it. This is a serious fungal disease that cannot be cured.
In Canada, blackberries are seasonal fruits and the availability of a fresh batch depends on whether you live in the North or the South. But if it's the touchscreen BlackBerry Z10 you have a craving for, that one is apparently available on Feb. 5.