Tart and sweet, raspberries are tasty and so good for you, especially in smoothies. They’re rich in essential nutrients, including antioxidants and fiber.
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What Are Raspberries?
Raspberries are small fruits also known as brambles. They’re available in black, red, purple, and yellow varieties, with red ones being the most common.
Native to Europe and North America, raspberries are in season during the summer. This makes them a tasty warm weather fruit.
In botany, raspberries actually aren’t true berries. They’re aggregate fruits, which means each one is a bunch of tiny round fruits called drupelets. Each fruit has a small seed inside.
But to keep it simple, raspberries are served and enjoyed like other berries. They can be eaten raw, frozen, or cooked.
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12 Benefits of Eating Raspberries
1. Promotes Digestive Health
Raspberries are packed with fiber, a type of carbohydrate. It’s an essential nutrient needed for good gut health.
When you eat high-fiber fruits like raspberries, the fiber increases the bulk of stool. This promotes regular, comfortable bowel movements.
Eating fruit like raspberries also benefits gut bacteria. These are microorganisms that support digestion and reduce inflammation.
Part of this is due to the polyphenols, or antioxidants, in raspberries. Polyphenols ensure there’s enough good bacteria in your gut to protect your digestive system.
2. Reduces Oxidative Stress
Adding raspberries to your smoothies is a tasty way to fight oxidative stress. They’re high in beneficial molecules called antioxidants.
Found in all fruits, antioxidants protects cells from oxidative stress. This reduces the risk of disease and keeps you healthy.
In raspberries, the main antioxidants are anthocyanins, a type of polyphenol antioxidant.
Anthocyanins are linked to a lower risk of chronic conditions caused by oxidative stress, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Other antioxidants in raspberries include vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E.
3. Lowers Inflammation
A healthy gut has an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. But if your gut is unbalanced, it can increase inflammation.
Since raspberries benefit gut health, they can play a role in managing inflammation. This is important because inflammation can lead to chronic disease.
The antioxidants in raspberries have an anti-inflammatory effect too. As these compounds lower oxidative stress, they also fight inflammation.
Berries, including raspberries, have also been shown to lower pro-inflammatory cytokines, or proteins involved in inflammatory reactions.
4. Improves Brain Function
For a natural way to protect the brain, add raspberries to your smoothies. The anthocyanins can help improve brain health and function.
Anthocyanins work by protecting neurons, or nerve cells, from oxidative stress. As oxidative stress can damage neurons and cause brain disease, this is essential for brain health.
Additionally, anthocyanins reduce inflammation in nerve cells. This may reduce the risk of neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
5. Increases Feeling of Fullness
Smoothies made with raspberries will be more filling and satisfying. It’s due to the fiber, which reduces the sensation of hunger.
Fiber does this by increasing satiety hormones, or chemical messengers that tell your brain that you’re full.
It also slows digestion and takes a while to move through the gut. This means it will stay in your body for longer, increasing satiety.
The filling effect of raspberries can control your appetite throughout the day, which might be helpful if you want to lose or manage weight.
6. Aids Immunity
Raspberries are high in vitamin C, one of the most important nutrients for good immunity. The human body can’t make the nutrient, so it’s essential to get it from food.
Vitamin C helps white blood cells find and destroy germs that make you sick. It also has antioxidant properties, so it lowers oxidative stress in the body.
The nutrient even helps make more of other antioxidants, like vitamin E and glutathione, giving the body even more protection.
Plus, vitamin C is needed for proper wound healing and skin health. This ensures harmful germs don’t enter the body.
7. Enhances Iron Absorption
Iron is an essential mineral. It’s needed for hemoglobin, the main protein in red blood cells.
Hemoglobin carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of the body. This ensures your tissues and organs get enough oxygen.
You can get iron through food, but it also helps to eat vitamin C-rich foods like raspberries.
That’s because vitamin C promotes iron absorption. It works by turning it into a form that’s better absorbed by the body.
8. Helps Blood Sugar
As a diabetes-friendly fruit, raspberries can help manage your blood sugar. This is crucial because high blood sugar can worsen diabetes over time.
The antioxidant polyphenols in raspberries are responsible for this effect. They can lower blood sugar after eating, when it usually increases.
Polyphenols also have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation can contribute or worsen diabetes, so it’s important to control.
Finally, raspberries have fiber, which slows down the absorption of sugar. This is beneficial for blood sugar levels.
9. Manages High Cholesterol
Raspberries contain soluble fiber, a type of fiber that binds to extra cholesterol and removes it from the body.
This will help reduce high blood cholesterol, potentially lowering the risk of heart disease and other heart issues.
Berries have also been shown to decrease low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol.
It’s all thanks to the antioxidant effects. The antioxidants work against certain reactions, which lower LDL cholesterol levels in the body.
10. Protects Eyesight
The eyes need a lot of oxygen to function. They’re also exposed to light all day. This makes them prone to oxidative stress, which can lead to eye disease.
Eating antioxidant-rich foods like raspberries may help. Their anthocyanins can protect the eyes and keep them healthy.
Raspberries also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful antioxidants that collect in the eye. Both nutrients are linked to good vision.
In fact, lutein and zeaxanthin have been shown to slow down age-related eye conditions, including cataracts.
11. Improves Skin
Collagen is the main protein in the skin. It gives the skin structure, making it firm and strong.
We lose collagen as we get older, leading to wrinkles and sagging skin. But it’s possible to support collagen production by eating vitamin C-rich foods.
The body needs vitamin C to form collagen. Since raspberries are high in the nutrient, they can lend a hand.
Plus, raspberries have some water, so they contribute to your fluid intake. Staying hydrated is important for healthy and young-looking skin.
12. Supports Blood Clotting
Raspberries have nutrients needed for blood clotting, a process that slows down bleeding when you get a wound.
Manganese is a mineral that helps vitamin K with this process. The body can’t make manganese, so we need it from food like raspberries.
Additionally, raspberries have calcium, a mineral also involved with blood clotting. It aids chemical reactions that make a “mesh” to slow down bleeding.
It’s possible to have a raspberry allergy. The chances are higher you’re allergic to pollen.
If you have a history of pollen allergies and you’re eating raspberries for the first time, pay attention for any allergy symptoms.
Since raspberries have a lot of fiber, it’s a good idea to add it to your diet slowly. The high fiber content can cause digestive issues if you’re new to eating more fiber.
Choose plump and bright raspberries.
At the grocery store, pick raspberries that are plump, firm, and and bright red-pink. Skip berries that are moldy or mushy.
You should also avoid raspberries that are too light or dark.
Don’t wash raspberries before refrigerating.
Moisture will make raspberries spoil faster, so avoid washing them before refrigerating.
Instead, only wash strawberries before you’re ready to use or freeze them.
Freeze in a single layer.
When freezing raspberries for smoothies, make sure they’re in a single layer.
If the raspberries are on top of each other, they’ll freeze in clumps. This will make it hard to measure raspberries for smoothie recipes.
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