Did you know that raspberries are part of the rose family? If you’ve ever been pricked by this bush’s thorns while picking this delicious berry, you may not be surprised that it’s the cousin of this romantic flower.
These berries are good for a lot more than a summer treat. The health benefits of raspberries also make this compound berry a functional way to boost your health.
When we talk about raspberries we are typically talking about Rubus idaeus, also known as red raspberries, but there are actually 15 major species of in the Rubus genus that are referred to as raspberries in their native countries. Some are gold, some are black, and others are purple, but they’re all raspberries.
Raspberries are aggregated compound berries. That means that each berry develops from one flower containing many separate ovaries that merge together as the berry develops. In the case of our everyday raspberry, they contain an average of 100 drupelets per berry. Each drupelet has its own seed, which can be a pain when they get stuck in your teeth, but it goes a long way to making up the high fibre levels in the fruit.
Raspberries are a good source of:
- Vitamin K
- Dietary fibre
- Vitamin C
Raspberries are high in dietary fibre and relatively low in sugars, making them a great berry to add to a low-carb diet. They’re also very low in sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that has a slow metabolic rate.
Raspberries have ancient medicinal uses. The berry has been used around the world for centuries, maybe millennia, for its benefits during pregnancy and childbirth. Raspberries enrich the blood with minerals that soothe muscles and joints, and helping relieve nausea.
Black raspberries (this is a completely different berry from a blackberry though they look similar) have shown preventative effects on human colorectal cancer. This variety of raspberry showed to decrease colonic polyp quantity and size. Diets rich with these berries showed to affect metabolic rates and help keep the mucus levels in the colon at a healthy level, and free of dangerous polyps.
While the above research looked specifically at black raspberries effect on colorectal cancer, the high dietary fibre in all species of raspberries is going to have a positive effect on the digestive tract as a whole. That’s because the high levels of fibre will clear the digestive tract, and keep things from binding and festering in your gut or colon. While it is great to get this important fibre in your diet, it is important to be responsible with how many raspberries you’re consuming. First of all, the berries do contain some sugar and that will add up if you’re eating them in bulk, but more importantly, if you eat too many raspberries you’re going to get an upset stomach and there is a higher chance of suffering from diarrhea.
Raspberries are also a good source of vitamin C. 100g serving contains 44% of your daily value of this healing vitamin. Vitamin C is a necessary for life. It boosts the immune system, reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, and helps minimize damage in the body.
Raspberries can mold and go bad fairly quickly. And unlike some fruit, once picked they don’t continue to ripen. However, they freeze well. That way you can pick in bulk while they are in season, bag them up, toss them in a freezer, and pull them out when you’re ready to enjoy.