Raspberries are part of the rose (Rosaceae) family, the same family that includes blackberries, apples, pears, peaches, and plums. Some raspberry species are found in the wild, while others may be grown in your backyard. There are literally hundreds of raspberry species, but the most popular are the red, black, and blue varieties.
Raspberries are much more than a delicate, sweet fruit to add to your smoothies or salads. They also offer an impressive list of health benefits.
Good for your heart
According to recent research, consuming berries, raspberries included, can result in a decrease in total cholesterol. Since high cholesterol levels have been associated with coronary artery disease, it suggests that raspberries are heart-healthy.
Raspberries also contain anthocyanins, which are flavonoids that give berries and other fruits their color. Researchers believe that anthocyanins may dilate arteries and help prevent plaque buildup.
May help relieve arthritis pain
The Arthritis Foundation lists red raspberries as one of the best fruits to help relieve arthritis pain. They attribute this to the high vitamin C and anthocyanin content in raspberries.
In a 2012 animal study, a polyphenolic-enriched red raspberry extract (RRE) slowed the progression of type-II collagen degradation, which leads to loss of joint function in rheumatoid arthritis. Higher levels of RRE also showed significant anti-inflammatory effects.
High in fiber
Most people don’t get enough fiber in their diets. This is one reason some bowel problems such as constipation are common. Fiber helps bulk up your stool to make it easier to have a bowel movement.
It also decreases your risk of hemorrhoids. It may help reduce cholesterol and control blood sugar levels as well. One cup of raspberries has a whopping 8 grams of dietary fiber. That’s more than one-third of the daily recommended amount.
Helps you maintain a healthy weight
Raspberries are naturally low in calories and fat. One cup has 64 calories and 1 gram of fat. The high fiber in raspberries helps you eat less by making you feel fuller longer. The natural sweetness of raspberries helps satisfy almost every sweet tooth.
Raspberry ketones, healthy chemical compounds, may prove a worthy opponent against the battle of the bulge. Research shows raspberry ketones improves both obesity and fatty liver, possibly due to decreased lipid accumulation and increased fatty acid oxidation.
May help fight cancer
Red raspberries are high in ellagic acid. Ellagic acid is a phytochemical shown to have antioxidant and anticarcinogenic abilities in animal studies.
According to a 2014 study, ellagic acid can:
- help prevent tumor cell reproduction
- reduce systemic inflammation
- help prevent DNA damage from carcinogens
- help slow aggressive cancer cells
The study cautions that ellagic acid is poorly absorbed and rapidly metabolized. This may reduce its usefulness. More study is needed on humans to determine the best way to use ellagic acid to fight cancer. In the meantime, eating raspberries may offer some cancer-fighting benefits.
Great source of vitamin C
One cup of raspberries provides just over 32 grams of vitamin C. That’s more than half the recommended daily allowance.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent disease by fighting damaging free radicals in your body. It’s also critical to the production of collagen, a substance that supports wound healing.
Vitamin C may be best known for treating the common cold. Research shows vitamin C doesn’t prevent the cold virus, but it may shorten how long it stays around.
Great source of manganese
Manganese is a trace mineral your body needs, although it doesn’t need large amounts. It’s another antioxidant that helps battle free radicals.
It’s also involved in bone development, collagen production, and wound healing. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, manganese is critical to the process of gluconeogenesis, the conversion of substances other than carbohydrates into sugar. Therefore, manganese is especially important when carbohydrate intake is low. One cup of raspberries gives you over 40 percent of the recommended daily allowance of manganese.
Tips for using raspberries
Fresh raspberries go bad quickly. They should be stored in the refrigerator. Use or freeze fresh raspberries within a couple of days of purchase or picking. Discard raspberries that are mushy, moldy, or overripe to avoid contaminating other berries.
Before eating raspberries, wash them gently and pat them dry.
Ways to use raspberries
Raspberries are delicious straight off the vine and in baked goods, but they’re also tasty as a topping on warm quinoa or steel-cut oatmeal. Puréed raspberries make a great syrup substitute for pancakes and waffles. Here are some other ways to enjoy raspberries.
- Raspberry jam: It’s much easier to make than you might think. This recipe is ready in 10 minutes and uses chia seeds as a thickener. Get the recipe.
- Raspberry sorbet: If you’re looking for a sophisticated alternative to ice cream, impress your guests with this light raspberry sorbet. Get the recipe.
- Raspberry fruit leather: Most of the fruit leather in grocery stores is full of sugar and artificial ingredients. You’ll feel good about giving your kids homemade fruit leather made from fresh raspberries and natural sweetener. Get the recipe.
- Raspberry vinaigrette: Kick store-bought vinaigrettes that are loaded with preservatives and high fructose corn syrup to the curb, and make your own instead. Get the recipe.
If you’re trying to stay healthy, you can’t go wrong by eating raspberries. They’re delicious, versatile, and good for you. They have more than earned their superfood status. The only drawback to raspberries is their cost. They tend to be more expensive than other berries. Whenever possible, buy raspberries in season when they’re less expensive and freeze for later use.
Eaten as food, raspberries are considered safe for everyone, even children and pregnant women. Herbal preparations made from raspberries and raspberry leaf should not be used by children or pregnant women without medical supervision.
In some cases, raspberries may cause allergic reaction. Symptoms of allergic reaction include:
- difficulty breathing
- rapid heart rate
If you experience any of these symptoms after eating raspberries, get medical help right away.