In medieval Europe, wild raspberries were considered both a medicinal and utilitarian plant. Their juice was used in paintings and illuminated manuscripts. During this period, only the rich enjoyed these delicious berries.
King Edward I (1272-1307) is recognised as the first to call for the cultivation of raspberries, and by the 17th century, English gardens were teeming with berries and berry bushes. By the 18th century, the practice of berry growing had spread throughout Europe. Today, thanks to their cultivation in the past, raspberries are valued not only for their unique flavour and aroma but also for their health benefits.
Raspberries – Nutrition facts
Raspberries contain low energy value, small protein and fat content; medium carbs and not a big amount of sugar, a good amount of fibre and a low glycemic index which is good for blood sugar levels. Raspberries have a great amount of vitamin C and manganese and medium content of copper.
Raspberries – Good news
Raspberries are popular among people of all ages, but did you know that they are not just colourful and tasty berries, they are also full of health benefits?
1Offer cancer protection
Raspberries are rich in antioxidants that can protect against cancer. Animal studies show that the berry may be beneficial in combating colon, breast, and liver cancer. In one study, the red raspberry extract was shown to kill up to 90% of stomach, colon, and breast cancer cells.
2Help control blood sugar levels
Raspberries are medium in carbohydrates and have a good amount of fibre, making them a reasonable choice for people cautious about their carbohydrate intake.
Raspberries are unlikely to raise blood sugar levels. The glycaemic index (GI) of raspberries is defined as low, putting them in the low-glycemic category. The GI of products is a measure of how quickly a food increases blood sugar levels.
Animal studies show that raspberries, eaten in conjunction with high-fat foods, help to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin response. This may be because raspberries are rich in tannins, plant compounds that inhibit ferments that break down starch.
Raspberries have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the symptoms of arthritis. Trials have also shown a lower risk of arthritis as well as less joint damage in those who have developed the condition. However, more research and human testing are needed to confirm these effects.
4Contain an antioxidant vitamin C
Raspberries are an antioxidant powerhouse high in vitamin C. Antioxidants are molecules present in the body and found in plant-based foods that counteract oxidative stress. According to a 2015 study, higher consumption of antioxidant-rich fruits, such as raspberries, is associated with a lower risk of stress-related chronic diseases.
5Promote weight loss
The chemicals in raspberries can also promote weight loss. In one study, mice were fed a low-fat diet, a high-fat diet, or a high-fat diet with one of eight berries, including raspberries. Mice in the group that received raspberries gained less weight than mice that received only the high-fat diet.
6Reduce the signs of ageing
Ageing is an inevitable, biological phenomenon that affects all multicellular organisms. Rich in protective plant compounds called polyphenols, raspberries can help reduce the signs of ageing and improve balance and strength.
The berries are also rich in vitamin C, which is important for collagen production and can protect the skin from UV radiation. As these results are largely based on animal models, more human trials are needed.
7Help regulate your digestion
If you want your digestion to work like a well-oiled car, consume more raspberries. 100 g (3.5 oz) fresh raspberries contain 6.5 g of dietary fibre, which reduces stomach discomfort and bloating.
Raspberries – Are there any risks?
Due to their strong flavour and taste, raspberries can be described as candies, and due to their high vitamin and element content, we could call them a cure. Nevertheless, some people are advised against eating these wonderberries. Raspberry allergy is one of the reasons for that.
Some people take supplements called raspberry ketones, which contain chemical extracts of raspberries and other plants. The manufacturers claim that these supplements can help people lose weight or prevent hair loss.
However, there is little scientific evidence that raspberry ketones are safe or effective for these purposes. Some of these products contain stimulants that may have adverse effects on some people. Before using any supplement, it is important to consult your doctor. In addition to the risk of side effects, some supplements may interact with medicines.
Among the berries, raspberries are one of the most potent allergens. The presence of potent substances in them is indicated by their bright colouring and specific aroma. Raspberry allergies show different signs: itching and burning of the oral mucosa, sneezing and itching in the nose, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhoea, skin rashes, asthma attacks, and localised swelling. If you have experienced any of these symptoms, try to avoid raspberries.
Fun & curious facts about raspberries
Raspberries derive their name from raspise meaning ‘sweet wine of pink’ (mid-15th century). The name may have been influenced by the appearance of the berries with a rough surface, related to the Old English rasp or ‘rough berry.’
Raspberry’s popularity in culinary and medicine continued until the Middle Ages when its juice was also used as red paint in artwork. In the thirteenth century, King Edward I of England encouraged the cultivation of raspberries throughout England.
Raspberries in the Blue Zones
A plant-based diet is the basis of nutrition for Blue Zones’ centenarians. Raspberries are particularly favoured by the inhabitants of Loma Linda, California.
Raspberries. Experiment by our expert
Let’s sum raspberries up
Raspberries are low in calories, but have a good amount of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Add raspberries to your diet and you will protect your body from cancer, arthritis, high blood sugar, overweight, reverse the signs of ageing, and even improve digestion.
Raspberries can also cause allergies, so they are not suitable for everyone. Raspberry allergies show different signs such as itching and burning of the oral mucosa, sneezing and itching in the nose. Raspberry supplements (raspberry ketones) are also popular with supplements enthusiasts, but be careful as their safety and effectiveness have not been proven.
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The Horizons Health YouTube channel is your one-stop destination for health and nutrition tips that are backed by science to improve your health. These guys will tell you what you need to know about raspberries.
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