Rich in vitamins, antioxidants and fiber, raspberries are a delicious fruit with many health benefits. Raspberries have a high concentration of ellagic acid, a phenolic compound that prevents cancer, thereby stopping the growth of cancer cells and eliminating the progress of some cancers.
The oil from raspberries has a sun protection factor. Furthermore, it helps to lose weight and also takes proper care of your skin while aging. In order to improve your immune system, this berry actually looks after your overall health structure. These berries are easy to include in your diet. Either you include them in some recipes, eat them raw, or add the chilled raspberries to your drinks; all the forms tantalize your taste buds and provide nutrition at the same time.
About the Raspberry Fruit
The taste of this fruit is sweet and has a subtly sharp tinge. Raspberries almost melt in your mouth because of their soft and sweet texture. Raspberries come in a range of colors like pink, purple, black, yellow, orange, and white. Raspberries have two hybrids, namely loganberries and boysenberries. Most varieties of raspberries are cultivated in California from June through October.
Health Benefits of Raspberries
Raspberries are delicious fruits that tantalize your taste buds and satisfy your nutritional needs at the same time. Raspberries contain noteworthy amounts of polyphenolic antioxidants like anthocyanin pigments that are associated with optimal health protection. This berry also has a high proportion of dietary fiber. Raspberries are one of the plant foods with the highest ranking fiber contents. Of all contents, fiber comprises around 20% of the berry’s total weight.
Raspberries are excellent sources of vitamin C, manganese and dietary fiber. Raspberries are also rich in B vitamins, folic acid, copper and iron. This berry has the highest concentration of antioxidant strength amongst all fruits. This is due to its high concentration of ellagic acid, anthocyanins, gallic acid, quercetin, cyanidins, catechins, pelargonidins, kaempferol and salicylic acid. However, yellow raspberries and other pale-colored fruits have a much lower percentage of anthocyanins. Thus, raspberries can be considered as one of the best natural treatments for cancers.
Helps to Lose Weight: This fruit is high in dietary fiber and manganese. Fiber aids in slowing down the digestive process so that you will feel full for longer. The trace mineral manganese keeps your metabolic rate high, and thereby burns fat. If you are looking for a delicious and effective way to lose weight, raspberries can be the best natural option.
Reduces Wrinkles: Raspberries work like magic on wrinkles. They can be used as a natural face mask. They also protect the skin against the sun’s rays. The antioxidant powers of vitamin C effectively reduce the age spots and discoloration. By filling in minor wrinkles, raspberries can help you restore your youthful appearance. Raspberries can be made into great facial masks for glowing skin; you just need to mix 1 cup of plain yogurt and 2 cups of fresh raspberries, then blend the mixture until it becomes completely smooth. Apply the mixture to your entire face and keep it on for 15 minutes. Then, wash it off with tepid water.
Prevents 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 with a handful of these fresh raspberries and an addition of balsamic vinegar. You can also 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. Garnish with mint and enjoy the healthy treat. (Read more: The New Healing Herbs: The Classic Guide to Nature’s Best Medicines by Michael Castleman)
Prevents Infections and Cancer: As mentioned earlier, raspberries are an excellent antioxidant-laden food that contain ellagic acid. Raspberries efficiently stop undesirable damage to cell membranes by neutralizing free radicals. Ellagic acid is a phytonutrient component of raspberries with key substances like kaempferol, quercetin, and the cyanidin-based molecules called cyanidin-3-rutinoside and cyanidin-3-glucosylrutinoside. These flavonoid molecules are again broken into anthocyanins, which give raspberries their rich, red color. The anthocyanins of raspberries are responsible for their unique antioxidant properties and also some antimicrobial ones. This promptly cuts down the overgrowth of certain bacteria and fungi in the body. These growths often lead to different vaginal infections and sometimes even result in irritable bowel syndrome.
Furthermore, recent studies have suggested that raspberries may have cancer shielding properties. Some research was done with animals that have concluded that raspberries have the potential to obstruct cancer cell proliferation and tumor development in different parts of the body, including the colon.
Promotes Optimal Health: Raspberries, blackberries and muscadine grapes all have metalloproteinase enzymes. These are essential for the development and renovation of tissues, however if they are produced in abnormally high amounts, they may act as a catalyst for cancer development. Raspberries have high amounts of vitamin C, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, manganese, niacin, potassium and copper. This makes them a complete fruit to offer overall, healthy prosperity.
Strengthens Immune System: Raspberries are rich in effective antioxidants as well phytonutrients. These elements proficiently reinforce your immune system and help your body to fight disease.
High Nutrient Value: Other than the outstanding phytonutrient content, raspberries are rich in traditional nutrients, primarily in the antioxidant and B vitamin categories. As mentioned earlier, raspberries are excellent source of manganese and vitamin C, two important antioxidant nutrients that protects the body’s tissue from oxygen-related damage. Raspberries are also good sources of riboflavin, niacin, folate, magnesium, potassium and copper. When complimented with a strong B vitamin and mineral content, raspberries are termed as “excellent” sources of dietary fiber. The nutrient content of raspberries make them a great fruit choice for having a negligible effect on blood sugar level.
Promotes Feminine Health: Some documentation has suggested that raspberries are also good specifically for women. They are good for single women, pregnant women, and lactating mothers. (Read more: Smart medicine for a healthier child by Janet Zand, Robert Rountree, Bob Rountree, Rachel Walton) Raspberry leaves can be used as herbal teas for single women, which regulate menstrual cycles and decrease excessively heavy menstrual flows. For pregnant women, raspberry tea successfully relieves nausea, prevents hemorrhage, reduces pain and helps in childbirth. For lactating mothers, raspberry tea or eating the fruit will help to increase the production of breast milk.
Origin of Raspberries
Raspberries have a long history and their existence dates back to prehistoric times. Wild raspberries are believed to have originated in eastern Asia, but there are also varieties of raspberries that originated in the western hemisphere. The raspberry seeds were probably carried by travelers or animals that crossed and migrated to the Bering Strait (south of the Arctic Circle) during ancient times.
The range of wild raspberries is seen all across the globe. The transmission of this variety of berries throughout the world seems to have happened through migrating men or animals. In prehistoric times, hunter-gatherers moved across vast distances in order to collect food. While coming back to the villages they threw away some smaller sized raspberries and these later grew up to be raspberry plants. Thus, these plants started to propagate in new areas.
The first mention of raspberries in literature or historical records was found in an English book based on herbal medicine that was dated in 1548. Raspberries cultivation began widely in Europe and North America during the 19th century when many new hybrid varieties of raspberry like the loganberry and boysenberry started to develop through either a fortuitous way or due to intentional crossbreeding. Currently, the leading major producers of raspberries include Poland, Germany, Yugoslavia, Russia, Chile and the United States.
Raspberries are highly perishable, thus you can purchase them only one or two days before use. Select the berries that have firm structure, and are fleshy and dark in color. Always avoid the ones which are soft, mushy or moldy. If you are buying berries that are already packed in a container, ensure that they are not packed too tightly as it can crush the berries and damage them. The container also should not have any stains or moisture, which indicates spoilage. Fresh raspberries are usually available from summertime through the beginning of fall.
Raspberries are easily perishable fruits, so a great deal of care should be taken while storing them. Before storing in the refrigerator, pick up and discard the berries that are molded or spoiled to avoid the spread of that spoiling to other berries. Place the unwashed, dry berries back in their original container or keep them lined with a paper towel and then cover it with plastic wrap. Raspberries will stay fresh in the refrigerator for one or two days; never keep raspberries at room temperature or in strong sunlight for too long, it will spoil them quickly.
Raspberries freeze very well, thus making long-term storage easier. Wash them moderately in the low pressure of the sink sprayer so that they maintain their delicate shape and then pat them dry with a paper towel. Arrange the berries in a single layer on a flat sheet and place them in the freezer. Once the berries are frozen, you can keep the berries in a heavy plastic bag and store in the freezer where they will stay in a proper state up to one year. If you wish to preserve their bright color, add a little lemon juice to the raspberries.
A Few Raspberry Recipes
Raspberries and other forms of berries have truly magnificent color, aroma and flavor that actually do not require any recipe for consuming. However, if you wish to enhance your diet with a complete nutritious meal, you can of course add raspberries to make your recipes unique. To make a raspberry drink, Mix one packet of flavored raspberry gelatin with a half cup of boiling water. Keep blending this mixture until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Then add a half cup of vanilla yoghurt, a half cup of fruit and one cup of crushed ice. Blend the drink well, until it becomes smooth.
To make raspberry tea, put 5 tea bags of raspberry flavor into 5 cups of hot water. You can also empty the tea into a large bowl, take a towel and cover your head, then stoop over the bowl to enjoy the aroma. This practice will not only bring back your energy, but also imparts most of the raspberries’ benefits.
You can mix fresh raspberries in with rich millet porridge for a sweetened morning breakfast treat that is also highly nutritious. To enhance your dish’s flavor and look, sprinkle some fresh raspberries with balsamic vinegar. You can also mix your yogurt with raspberries, honey and freshly ground mint with a topping of waffles or pancakes. You will find almond butter and raspberry jam in commercial stores nowadays, which have reportedly become very popular.
Considering how much sweetener you use, homemade raspberry coulis is a great option to use as a sauce for either flavorful chicken dishes or sweet desserts. Try eating a bowl of berries with a spoonful of light-whipped topping and a pinch of chopped pecans or walnuts. Adding raspberries to different kinds of cereals and salads is a traditional method of consuming this fruit as well. You can also mix frozen berries with low-fat milk and bananas to make a smoothie. If you have dried berries at home, try them out as snacks with some added sugar.
Raspberries have always been a popular food for all ages. The knowledge of their health benefits is spreading steadily and even more recipes with raspberries are being created all the time. Consuming these berries fresh provides the maximum nutritional value, but additional tweaks or some alteration to the texture will also bring a boost to your health. So, enjoy!