Raspberry Phytochemicals May Benefit Health
In the world of nutrition research blueberries often steal the spotlight but this month we’re letting raspberries shine. They’re likely just as good for you as other berries, but they haven’t been as widely studied. A 2016 review from Illinois Institute of Technology reminded us how sweetly nutritious red raspberries are and why we should be adding more raspberries to our plates.
Let’s start with the basics: Raspberries provide one of the best fiber-per-calorie deals in the store. Just 100 calories worth of the berries packs 12.5 grams of fiber—that’s half of the daily value! They’re also an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese and a good source of vitamin K. Let’s not forget taste: Raspberries get their deliciously sweet flavor with just 5 grams of natural sugar per cup.
Now let’s dig a little deeper. Red raspberries get their beautiful color from phytochemicals, compounds known to be beneficial to human health. The primary compounds in red raspberries are anthocyanins (which bring the red color and account for about 25% of raspberries’ antioxidant power) and ellagitannins. Both of these compounds and other phytochemicals in red raspberries may help in lowering risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease.
Most research on berries has been basic (not in humans) but the evidence in the lab has been highly compelling. Raspberry phytochemicals have been shown to decrease oxidative stress, inflammation and cell damage, improve endothelial function, and lower blood pressure, all of which can lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Lab work suggests ellagic acid, somewhat unique to red raspberries, can help in managing diabetes by increasing insulin and lowering blood sugar. Scientists have also found red raspberry extract can protect brain cells from injury.
There are so many ways to add raspberries to your diet—in salads and smoothies, on oatmeal or yogurt or even in desserts. Our Cocoa Raspberry Banana Mug Cake is a decadent treat made with wholesome ingredients, an indulgence you can feel good about savoring!
Published September 1, 2016