Raspberries are delicious fruits packed with nutrients.

Among the different varieties, red raspberries are the most common, while black raspberries are a unique type that only grows in certain locations.

This article reviews the main differences between red and black raspberries.

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Black raspberries, also known as black caps or thimbleberries, are a species of raspberry.

Both red and black raspberries are small, have a hollow center, and are covered with small white hairs. Both types have a similar flavor, although some people find black raspberries sweeter.

Regardless of their color, raspberries are very nutritious. One cup of raspberries (123 grams) provides the following (1):

  • Calories: 64 calories
  • Carbs: 15 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: less than 1 gram
  • Fiber: 29% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin C: 43% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 11% of the RDI
  • Vitamin E: 7% of the RDI

Raspberries are an excellent source of fiber, with a 1-cup (123-gram) serving providing 29% of the RDI. Dietary fiber supports your digestive system, promotes heart health, and may aid in weight loss (2, 3, 4).

Like other fruits, raspberries are rich in vitamins C and E, which have powerful antioxidant activity in your body. Antioxidants are compounds that prevent cell damage caused by molecules called free radicals (5).

Summary Black and red raspberries are similar in size, anatomy, and flavor. Raspberries are a rich source of important nutrients like fiber and vitamins C and E.

Both red and black raspberries contain powerful antioxidants that protect your cells from damage caused by high levels of free radicals in your body. A healthy balance of antioxidants and free radicals is necessary to maintain optimal health (6).

That said, black raspberries are higher in antioxidants than the red variety (7, 8).

In particular, black raspberries have high levels of polyphenols, which are plant compounds that have antioxidant activity and provide health benefits. The following are the main polyphenols in black raspberries (9, 10):

  • anthocyanins
  • ellagitannins
  • phenolic acids

The high levels of antioxidants in black raspberries may explain their potential cancer-fighting properties.

One study gave people with colorectal cancer 60 grams of black raspberry powder daily for up to 9 weeks. The powder stopped the spread and induced the death of colon cancer cells in those who took the powder for at least 10 days (11).

Treatment with black raspberry powder also showed anti-inflammatory benefits and decreased cellular damage in a small study in people with Barrett’s esophagus, a disease associated with a higher risk of esophageal cancer (12).

What’s more, some test-tube and animal studies have found that black raspberry extract may help protect against certain cancers such as breast, colon, and prostate cancer (13, 14, 15).

However, these studies used highly concentrated forms of black raspberry extract or powder — not whole raspberries.

More research is needed to determine the potential anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting effects of black raspberry.

Summary Black raspberries have higher amounts of antioxidants than red raspberries, which may explain their potential anticancer activity.

Red and black raspberries are grown and used in food production differently.

Red raspberries

Red raspberries are commonly found in your local grocery store most months of the year.

They are grown all over the world in locations with a mild climate.

You can eat red raspberries by themselves or add them to foods like oatmeal or smoothies for natural sweetness.

Black raspberries

Black raspberries are difficult to find and are only available for a few weeks during midsummer.

Wild black raspberries grow in the Northeastern United States, but most commercial black raspberries are grown in the state of Oregon (16).

While you can enjoy black raspberries fresh, most commercially grown black raspberries are used in specialty foods such as jams and purées or used to make products like dietary supplements and natural food coloring.

Though black raspberries are higher in antioxidants than red raspberries, both are highly nutritious options that can benefit your health.

Like other fruits, all raspberries are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Overall, it’s recommended to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables to optimize your health and reduce your risk of chronic disease.

You can enjoy black or red raspberries by themselves, or use them as a fresh and flavorful addition to yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies.

Summary Both red and black raspberries can be a healthy addition to your diet.

Red and black raspberries are rich in nutrients like fiber and vitamin C and are similar in size, flavor, and structure.

However, black raspberries are higher in antioxidants than red raspberries, which may explain the potential cancer-fighting activity linked to black raspberry extract.

While you can usually find red raspberries in your local grocery store, black raspberries are harder to find. No matter which type you choose, both are a delicious way to boost your nutrient intake.