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Raspberries are considered to be one of the “super fruits,” and are considered to be the “king of berries,” because of all the health benefits possessed. Raspberries are an ideal addition to any diet and loaded with many different compounds.
Raspberries are an edible fruit and a member of the plant specie subgenus Idaebatus, of the genus Rubus.  The first historical record of raspberries exists in 4th century writings of Palladius, an agriculturist from Rome.  Raspberry seeds were also found at Roman forts in Britain and it is believed Romans spread cultivation through Europe.  Wild raspberries are thought to find origins in eastern Asia and there are also some varieties that are indigenous to the Western Hemisphere.  

Where are raspberries grown and how to grow them?

Raspberries grow all over the world in temperate regions.  Locations in which raspberries grow in nature include the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom, Canada, Chile, former states of Yugoslavia, Poland, Hungary, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. 

Raspberries like an area of full sunlight and grow best in well drained, sandy soil which is rich in organic matter.  Irrigation is important for optimum growth in dry spells and can improve the size and yield of fruit.  Preparing the soil can take up to two years and regular testing for pH levels are fertility are also necessary.

Nutrients found in raspberries

Raspberries are rich in polyphenol antioxidants such as anythocynanin, which has been the subject of research studies for its potential to provide protection against several diseases.  In addition raspberries are high in vitamin C, vitamins B1-3, folic acid, iron, copper and magnesium which are important elements needed by the human body.

Raspberries are ranked near the top of the “super foods” fruit list because of the high antioxidant strength and dense content of gallic acid, ellagic acid, quercetin, cyanidins, pelargonidins, catechins, anthocyanins, salicylic acid and kaempferols.   Because of the rich nutrient content contained in raspberries, preliminary research studies have found the berries are beneficial against; inflammation, pain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, allergies, age-related cognitive decline and eyesight degeneration.

Healthy ways to prepare raspberries

To receive all the healthy benefits of raspberries it is best to serve them in a raw, fresh state.  Other healthy ways to prepare raspberries include in a smoothie, added to muffins or cereal, dried, mixed into salads, brewed into tea or made into a sauce for meat dishes.

Health Benefits of Raspberries

Raspberries contain several strong antioxidants such which help the body fight against cancer, heart and circulatory diseases and age-related decline.  Raspberries are also high in ellagic acid which has proven to have anti-inflammatory properties.  

The fruit also contains significant amounts of polyphenol antioxidants such as anthocyanin pigments which are important for protecting the body against several types of diseases.  Raspberries are near the top of the list of all fruits for having antioxidant strength due to containing ellagic acid, quercetin, cyanidins, catechins, anthocyanins, gallic acid, kaempferol and salicylic acid.  

Though there are no scientific studies to date that prove the following conclusively, preliminary research indicates the following possible benefits of regular raspberry consumption:

  • Pain
  • Cancer
  • Inflammation
  • Allergies
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Age-associated cognitive decline
  • Eyesight degeneration associated with age

Recent research conducted determined that Oregon black raspberries have extremely high levels of antioxidants. [1] Oxygen free radicals can damage DNA and cells, cause premature cognitive aging and oxidize LDL cholesterol.  Eating foods high in antioxidants has been proven to prevent certain types of cancer, stroke, cardiovascular disease and possibly Alzheimer’s disease.  The anthocyanins give raspberries a dark, black, rich color and have been found to have vasoprotective and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Raspberries are also rich in compounds that contain anti-carcinogenic, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.  Studies are currently underway to determine how raspberries slow the growth of certain types of cancers.  In vitro studies show that extracts of raspberries can slow or even reverse growth of colon, oral, breast, esophageal and cervical cancers.   There is also research which indicates raspberries have the potential to inhibit cancer cell proliferation and tumor formation in many different parts of the body as well.

  • Black Raspberries Slow Cancer By Altering Hundreds Of Genes. ScienceDaily, Aug. 29, 2008
  • Health and Healing Fact Sheets: Black Raspberries. Berry Health Benefits Network.
  • Photo courtesy of Michaela Pereira by Flickr :