Health Benefits of Raspberries
Since thousands of years, raspberries have been one of the favorite berries of humans, given their attractive color, delicious juicy flavor and outstanding health benefits. Raspberries come in a range of colors including red, black, yellow, purple and even golden; but whichever is their color, it’s rich and enticing. Plus, each variety has a unique combination of various nutrients in it.
Nutritional Profile of Raspberries
1 cup fresh raspberries (123 grams) contains:
|- Protein 1.48 grams (3% DRI/DV)
- Carbohydrates 14.69 grams (7% DRI/DV)
- Fat 0.80 grams (1% DRI/DV)
- Vitamin A 40.59 IU
- Alpha-carotene 19.68 mcg
- Beta-carotene 14.76 mcg
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin 167.28 mcg
- Vitamin B1 0.04 mg (3% DRI/DV)
- Vitamin B2 0.05 mg (4% DRI/DV)
- Vitamin B3 0.74 mg (5% DRI/DV)
- Vitamin B6 0.07 mg (4% DRI/DV)
- Biotin 2.34 mcg (8% DRI/DV)
- Choline 15.13 mg (4% DRI/DV)
- Folate 25.83 mcg (6% DRI/DV)
- Vitamin C 32.23 mg (43% DRI/DV)
|- Vitamin E 1.07 mg (7% DRI/DV)
- Vitamin K 9.59 mcg (11% DRI/DV)
- Calcium 30.75 mg (3% DRI/DV)
- Copper 0.11 mg (12% DRI/DV)
- Iron 0.85 mg (5% DRI/DV)
- Magnesium 27.06 mg (6% DRI/DV)
- Manganese 0.82 mg (36% DRI/DV)
- Phosphorus 35.67 mg (5% DRI/DV)
- Potassium 185.73 mg (4% DRI/DV)
- Selenium 0.25 mcg
- Sodium 1.23 mg
- Zinc 0.52 mg (5% DRI/DV)
- Water 85.75 grams
- Fiber 7.99 grams (29% DRI/DV)
- Calories 63.96 (4% DRI/DV)
Raspberry Health Benefits
High ORAC Values
ORAC i.e. Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity is a technique of calculating the antioxidant content of food items.
Raspberry has one of the highest ORAC values. A cup of raspberries has 6058 µmol per 100 grams of ORAC value. It should be noted that one can get maximum antioxidants (total flavonoid, phenolic and anthocyanin content) in a fully ripe raspberries, because the antioxidant content of raspberries go on increasing with their maturity (from 50% to 100%).
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has recently published a report according to which there is an association between the intake of flavonoid-laden foods like raspberries and a lowered risk of death due to cardiovascular disease. The report states that even a small amount of flavonoid-rich foods may benefit.
Anthocyanins, a group of flavonoids, in particular has been found to reduce the inflammation that may cause cardiovascular disease.
Another content known as polyphenol that is high in raspberries may also decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease by inhibiting platelet accumulation and lowering blood pressure through anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
A study conducted with 93,600 women of the age group of 25 to 42 years showed that sustained consumption of anthocyanins can lower the risk of heart attack in young and middle-aged women by 32%.
Raspberries have also potassium in them which supports heart health. A study on participants who consumed 4,069 mg of potassium every day lowered their risk of death from ischemic heart disease by 49% as compared to those who consumed less potassium (around 1,000 mg per day).
Helps in Diabetes
Any plant-based food having skin has a lot of fiber content and raspberries have a lot of skin. Therefore, eating this high-fiber food keeps blood sugar levels stable. According to studies, those who have diabetes type 1 and consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose and those who have type 2 diabetes may have improved levels of blood sugar, insulin and lipids.
Prevention of Cancer
Raspberries help fight cancer with their potent antioxidants that ward off free radicals, inhibit growth of tumor and reduce inflammation in the body. The polyphenols in raspberries which protect against cardiovascular disease also help fight or slow down several types of cancer, including lung, esophageal, pharynx, mouth, pancreatic, endometrial, colon and prostate.
Raspberries, especially black ones, contain phytochemicals that affect immune processes regarding immunotherapy (treatment of a disease by stimulation of immune system). This can be important while treating disorders related to a weakened immune system.
As per the Washington State University, raspberries are superfoods that make the body capable of warding off infections caused by poor immunity.
Vitamin C content in raspberries too is great for strengthening immunity. So also the beta-carotene in raspberries can be attributed to boost immune system.
Helps in Women’s Health
Raspberries, and particularly the leaves of raspberry plant, are very beneficial for women during pregnancy. According to a study, women consuming raspberry leaves are way less likely to get their membranes torn during labor. They also have fewer chances of a Cesarean section, vacuum birth or forceps. Eating raspberry leaves can also reduce labor and there are no side effects for the mother and baby.
Raspberry leaves tea have been used by English herbalists since long to help women avoid issues during labor.
Digestion, Disease Prevention and Detoxification
As mentioned earlier, raspberries are fiber-rich and so, they prevent constipation and maintain the health of digestive tract. This high fiber content promotes regularity crucial for everyday excretion of toxins through the stool and bile. Studies have also found that dietary fiber may regulate the inflammation and immune system. This eventually reduces the risk of inflammation-related disorders like diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer.
The University of Kentucky’s Department of Internal Medicine and Nutritional Sciences Program states that high fiber consumption is linked to a considerably reduced risk of onset of hypertension, stroke, obesity, diabetes, coronary heart disease and certain gastrointestinal disorders.
High fiber consumption has been also found to reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure and promote weight loss in obese individuals.
Women should consume around 25 grams of fiber and men should consume around 30 grams of fiber every day. A cup of raspberries can provide 8 grams of fiber.
Boosts Health of Blood Vessels and Tissues
Vitamin C is needed for the growth and repair of tissues and raspberries are loaded with vitamin C. This vitamin heals wounds and helps in the formation of collagen which is important for the formation of blood vessels, and strengthening their walls. Collagen is also important in the synthesis of connective tissue, and formation of bones, skin and cartilages.
Raspberries also have iron in them due to which red blood cell production is boosted.
According to a Korean study, black raspberries have anti-inflammatory properties, to be exact, at the plant’s root. Raspberries have also been proven to treat ulcerative colitis by combating inflammation. Black raspberries are also used in many pharmaceutical products due to their potent anti-inflammatory properties.
The anti-inflammatory properties of raspberries can be due to their anthocyanins, a kind of flavonoids that defend the watery part of body cells and fight inflammation.
However, the number of raspberries required to treat inflammation has not yet been determined since there is only a little research done in this regard. Still, one can include raspberries regularly in their diet so as to reap their health benefits.
Promotes Hair Health
Raspberries can also promote hair health because of its high folate content which aids in the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to each and every cell in the body. Naturally it’s also beneficial for hair follicles as sufficient blood supply and oxygen can cause their proper growth. What’s more, raspberries contain silicon and magnesium which improve hair quality. Silicon can thicken hair within a few weeks and promote quicker hair growth.
Promotes Weight Loss
By the virtue of fiber and manganese in them, raspberries bring about weight loss. Fiber helps keep one full for longer and discourages binging. Fiber content in a serving of raspberries is actually higher than that in a serving of oatmeal or bran flakes. Manganese improves metabolism and speeds up the process of burning fat.
Raspberries are fat-free and low in calories and thus form a healthy addition to a weight loss diet. They also have low GI (glycemic index) i.e. it has a little impact on blood sugar. Hence after consuming raspberries, blood sugar levels are unlikely to rise.
Raspberry ketones have been found to increase the levels of adiponectin which is a protein that speeds up fat breakdown.
Another compound in raspberries known as resveratrol converts bad fat in good fat which helps burn calories.
Helps in Arthritis
According to an American study, one can get cartilage protection due to polyphenols in raspberries which can also alleviate arthritic conditions. Regular intake of red raspberries can help maintain joint health and treat inflammation.
Even bone resorption, in which calcium is shifted from bones to blood, can be inhibited due to consumption of red raspberries. Bone resorption occurs when there are inadequate levels of calcium in bones.
Flavonoids in berries are associated with memory improvement according to many animal studies. Berries are also believed to reduce the decline in cognitive ability that comes with aging.
Raspberries are rich in vitamin C and therefore have been found to maintain eye health by offering protection from UV light damage. Also due to the antioxidant zeaxanthin in raspberries, the harmful blue light rays are filtered and possibly reduce damage from macular degeneration.
Raspberry seed oil can treat skin disorders like eczema, rashes etc. due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
As mentioned earlier, raspberries are rich in vitamin C and it is a powerful antioxidant. It may protect against aging along with the other antioxidants in raspberries. Vitamin C also plays an important role in collagen synthesis and has been proven to protect the skin from UV light due to which there is a reduction in the risk of skin cancer.
Helps in Fertility and Sexual Health
The high amounts of antioxidants in raspberries may save sperm from oxidative damage. Magnesium and vitamin C in raspberries improve testosterone production and fertility respectively in men.
Antioxidants in raspberries are also supposed to protect the fetus post conception, and thereby reduce the risk of abortion.
Proanthocyanidins in raspberries relax blood vessels and let the blood flow to the sensitive parts for increased arousal. Also the zinc in the berries helps boost libido.
Risk Factors of Raspberries
The Environmental Working Group publishes a list of fruits and vegetables every year that have the highest levels of pesticide residue. Raspberries are on the 23rd position in this list. This suggests that raspberries should be bought and consumed in their organic form. Also, recent research has shown that the antioxidant content in organic raspberries is higher than that in non-organic raspberries.
However, there is nothing to worry about even if one doesn’t get organic raspberries, because the health benefits of conventionally grown (non-organic) raspberries far outshine the risk of not consuming the produce at all.
Research on raspberries in supplement form is still in early stages and there are not any human studies yet to prove the efficacy of supplements like raspberry extracts, which typically contain stimulants like caffeine and hoodia.
Doubtlessly, including high-nutrient, low-calorie foods like raspberries as a part of diet will support weight loss; but, the ability of concentrated formulations like supplements in weight loss is uncertain.
Those who take antibiotics, particularly Linezolid, should avoid raspberries because tyramine in raspberries can interact with the drug and can cause a dangerous spike in blood pressure.
Raspberries might also stimulate shrinkage of uterus in pregnant women; so, they should consult their doctor before consuming raspberries. There are not enough studies available about consumption of raspberries in nursing mothers; so, it’s better to avoid.
Raspberries and their leaves in particular can work as a diuretic and laxative. Therefore, people already on laxatives and diuretics should not eat raspberries or its leaves, since it can cause dehydration as well as electrolyte imbalance.
Finally those who are allergic to raspberries should avoid eating them as it can cause itching in mouth and even on skin, swelling of tongue, lips and face, congestion or wheezing. Some people may also experience abdominal pain, dizziness, nausea and lightheadedness. But it should also be remembered that these cases are very rare.
Long Story Short: if there are no health related issues to include raspberries in your daily nutrition, feel free to do so. As always with everything in life, be moderate - add few raspberries to your daily shakes and smoothies and occasionally treat your self with delicious raspberry jam, juice, smoothie etc.