Raspberries are small, bright-colored fruits that belong to the rose family. Although popularly regarded as berries, they are actually aggregate fruits that evolve from a single flower with multiple ovaries. Raspberries are generally sweet with a subtle tart taste. They are soft and they melt in the mouth almost instantly when eaten.
Raspberries are believed to have originated in Eastern China. However, today, they are widely grown in all temperate regions of the world. Raspberries come in four different colors: purple, black, gold, and red. Each berry color offers a different mix of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Red raspberries are the most common variant found in grocery stores and the most widely consumed. These delicate sweet fruits are considered to be a superfood because of the amount of nutrients they contain. We look at the nutritional attributes of raspberries and how they benefit our health.
Whether fresh or frozen, raspberries provide a bevy of nutritional benefits. They contain Vitamins C and E, lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin, selenium, and beta carotene which are all examples of antioxidants. Raspberries also contain some amounts of Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, calcium, and zinc.
Nutrients found in a serving of one cup of fresh red raspberries are:
Raspberries have similar antioxidant content as other berries. They are rich in anthocyanins, riboflavin, and thiamine. Antioxidants help get rid of free radicals that are produced during metabolic processes and external factors. Anthocyanins have antimicrobial properties and can help reduce the risk of diseases like diabetes and cancer. Below are the health benefits provided by raspberries.
Because they are rich in antioxidants, raspberries may help fight cancer. Their antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds may reduce the reproduction of cancer cells, thus preventing certain types of cancers like that of the breast, colon, prostate, and mouth. Research shows that the combination of ellagitannin compounds and high dietary fiber may help kill cancer cells by triggering apoptosis or programmed cell death.
There are a few attributes of raspberries that make them a great food for preventing or managing type 2 diabetes. Although they are sweet, raspberries are unlikely to increase blood sugar levels, instead, they contain blood sugar-lowering properties. This aggregate fruit is rich in fiber which can lower cholesterol levels and induce the feeling of fullness. This can help in weight management, thus reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Raspberries also contain antioxidants that prevent inflammation, which could be a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
Raspberries are a heart-healthy food. They contain enough fiber to help keep cholesterol levels down, improve endothelial function and reduce the risk of hypertension. Also, raspberries provide potassium, a nutrient known to lower blood pressure and aid heart function.
Another reason raspberries are good for the heart is their antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds which can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. For instance, anthocyanins, a flavonoid present in raspberries, have been found to reduce inflammation that may lead to cardiovascular diseases.
The antioxidants and phytonutrients in raspberries can protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable atoms that cause damage to your cells as they attempt to stabilize themselves. They may contribute to the aging process, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, arthritis, cancer, and a variety of other diseases. Raspberries are among the top fruits that offer the most antioxidants. Black raspberries especially, because of their dark hue which usually indicates high antioxidants content. Antioxidants and phytonutrients are known to stimulate the immune system to effectively fight diseases.
Arthritis also called joint inflammation is majorly caused by wear and tear due to overuse, infections, and underlying diseases. Berries rich in antiinflammatory compounds have been found to alleviate symptoms of arthritis. Raspberry polyphenols have anti-inflammatory effects. Because darker berries contain more polyphenols, black raspberries may be a better choice for this purpose than red raspberries. The antioxidants in raspberries have also been associated with improved DNA repair and the inhibition of enzymes that cause arthritis pain.
Raspberries promote eye health because they contain Vitamin C and anthocyanins. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that helps form collagen, a protein that repairs and provides structure to the eyes. Adequate intake of vitamin C can help prevent macular degeneration and eye diseases such as cataracts. Also, anthocyanins in black raspberries may help prevent macular degeneration, boost eyesight, as well as reduce eye strain.
Furthermore, the antioxidant zeaxanthin found in raspberries helps to block out damaging blue light rays. It may help protect the eyes from conditions like age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which causes vision issues in older people.
Raspberries' rich phytonutrient composition also comes into play here. Polyphenols have been found to improve cognitive function, prevent age-related cognitive decline, and reduce inflammation known to accelerate aging. Raspberries also help fight oxidative stress which is a leading cause of neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's diseases.
Raspberries provide a bevy of benefits. They are rich in color and delicious to eat. Their brilliant color indicates high antioxidant content and their ability to provide health-promoting vitamins and minerals. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in raspberries also boost the immune system, mitigate the growth of cancer cells, and prevent macular degeneration. Raspberries are also low in calories and rich in fiber which makes them helpful in type 2 diabetes management.
Fresh raspberries are available from June to October, however, frozen raspberries are available all year and are as nutritious as the fresh ones. This velvety fruit makes a delicious complement to both sweet and savory dishes, and they are easy to work into recipes.