They are high in Vitamin C, which prevents scurvy, reduces risk of stroke, and helps prevent cancer initiation. They are good sources of Folate, which is an especially important nutrient for pregnant women, since it helps prevent neural tube (spinal column) defects. It may also help prevent heart disease. They are cholesterol free and virtually fat free. They are sources of dietary fiber that lowers cholesterol and may help prevent colon cancer and heart disease. They are low in calories. All these make bramble fruit a good addition to your diet.
What is a raspberry?
The raspberry belongs to numerous plant species in the rose family. It is a perennial fruit, and the plant has woody stems. Given their rich color and juicy taste (and the wonderful benefits, obviously), ralspberries are one of the most consumed fruits on the planet.
Are raspberries good for you? Well, the fruit is great as it offers numerous benefits – a few of them being protection against diseases like cancer and diabetes and prevention of ailments related to the heart.
And then, we have ORAC – which sets raspberries apart from most fruits. Also known as Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, ORAC is a method of measuring the antioxidant content of various food items. Raspberry has one of the highest ORAC values – one cup of the fruit has an ORAC value of 6058 µmol per 100 grams.
Anti-cancer benefits of raspberries have long been attributed to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. In animal studies involving breast, cervical, colon, esophageal, and prostate cancers, raspberry phytonutrients have been shown to play an important role in lowering oxidative stress, reducing inflammation, and thereby altering the development or reproduction of cancer cells. But new research in this area has shown that the anti-cancer benefits of raspberries may extend beyond their basic antioxidant and anti-inflammatory aspects. Phytonutrients in raspberries may also be able to change the signals that are sent to potential or existing cancer cells. In the case of existing cancer cells, phytonutrients like ellagitannins in raspberries may be able to decrease cancer cell numbers by sending signals that encourage the cancer cells to being a cycle of programmed cell death (apoptosis). In the case of potentially but not yet cancerous cells, phytonutrients in raspberries may be able to trigger signals that encourage the non-cancerous cells to remain non-cancerous.
Other health benefits of raspberries
- Digestive Health
The high fiber content of raspberries is significantly beneficial to digestive health. Per one cup, raspberries provide 21 and 32 percent of daily fiber for men and women, respectively. Individuals consuming the recommended fiber intake also lessen their risk of hemorrhoids, cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, and other conditions affecting digestive health.
- Heart Healthy
Soluble fiber, specifically, has been shown to naturally lower blood cholesterol levels. Supplementary pairing with its potent antioxidant content, raspberries have been suggested to lessen heart disease risk.
- Strengthen the Immune System
A 2016 study confirms that raspberries are rich in effective antioxidants as well phytonutrients. These elements proficiently reinforce your immune system and help your body fight diseases.
- Diabetes Management
Oh the benefits of fiber… Raspberries’ high fiber content not only contributes to improved digestive and heart health, but may be beneficial for diabetes management. High-fiber diets can assist in stabilizing and regulating blood sugars, ultimately lessening the risk of diabetes-associated complications.
In addition to raspberries’ health benefits, one of the greatest assets is its versatility, making its pronounced effects that much easier to obtain. Raspberries are enjoyable on their own, but can also be produced into jams, mixed into cereal and yogurt, or blended into this peach, raspberry, and basil protein smoothie.
- Prevent Macular Degeneration
Three servings of raspberries per day can prove to be a brilliant natural remedy for macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is an age-related medical condition that affects your vision. This leads to a loss of vision in the midpoint of the visual field due to damage to the retina. This can occur in both “dry” and “wet” forms. You can add these berries to your morning cereal or lunchtime yogurt. You can alter the taste and look of any green salad by adding a handful of these fresh raspberries and balsamic vinegar. Mix the frozen raspberries with a spoonful of honey and some vanilla soy milk, then freeze this mixture for 20 minutes and spoon it into serving cups.
They slow down the aging process
Did you know that oxidative stress is the root cause of accelerated aging and nearly every health challenge? Indeed, oxidative stress is the causative factor in the pathogenesis of many major diseases: Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, muscular degeneration and others. So, the key to preventing pre-mature aging and the development of chronic health problems is to limit oxidative stress in the body. And, the way to do that is by consuming antioxidants found in food. Extensive research confirms that the most powerful antioxidants in berries are a class of polyphenols known as anthocyanins. Berry anthocyanins strongly combat oxidative stress.
What may be more exciting is that berries can slow down the aging process externally, too. The high vitamin C content in berries help keep collage building underneath the skin so the skin stays firm, toned, elastic-like, younger looking, and younger feeling. (Simply put, eating berries regularly can help prevent wrinkles and excessive aging of the skin!)
People who tend to eat at least three servings of berries per week see the most benefits. The best way to eat raspberries is fresh, right out of your hand (after washing of course).
Here are some other tips to help increase your raspberry consumption:
- Always keep a bag of frozen raspberries on hand for adding to smoothies and oatmeal
- Forgo the syrupy sweetness of canned fruit cocktail and make your own fresh fruit cocktail with raspberries, pineapple, sliced peaches, and strawberries
- Add raspberries, grapes, and walnuts to your chicken salad
- Slice raspberries and add them to plain Greek yogurt with a drizzle of agave nectar and sliced almonds
- Top whole grain waffles or pancakes with fresh raspberries or fold them into muffins and sweet breads
- Blend raspberries in a food processor with a little water and use as a fresh syrup to top desserts or breakfast foods
- Mix raspberries into a spinach salad with walnuts and goat cheese
Raspberries may be good for your skin
In addition to their many other health benefits, berries may help reduce skin wrinkling.
This makes sense, given that the antioxidants in berries help control free radicals, one of the leading causes of skin damage that contributes to aging.
Although there isn’t a lot of research at this point, ellagic acid appears to be responsible for some of berries’ skin-related benefits.
Test-tube and animal studies suggest that this antioxidant may help protect skin by blocking the production of enzymes that break down collagen in sun-damaged skin.
Collagen is a protein that is part of skin’s structure. It allows skin to stretch and remain firm. When collagen is damaged, skin may sag and develop wrinkles.
In one study, applying ellagic acid to the skin of hairless mice that were exposed to ultraviolet light for eight weeks decreased inflammation and helped protect collagen from damage.