There are a few recipes which include raspberries in Volume One of The Alchemist's Cookbook Series in my Easy-Peasy Raspberry Jam (takes a mere 30 minutes to make) and the extraordinarily tasty Goodie Two-Shoes Coconut & Raspberries Mini Muffins and the sinfully delightful Coconut & Raspberry Sponge and Marzipan & Raspberry Bites! It's also in the Blood Sugar-Stabilising Breakfast Pancakes Recipe in Volume Two - Breakfasts-Light Bites-Breads & Soups.
I love my homemade Raspberry Jam SO much I have a secret stash in my store cupboard just for me! I do share it, of course…….. and it is my favourite of all jams in the world! It even features on the front of Volume One - Cakes-Cordials-Conserves & Preserves!
The fabulous news is that raspberries are not only stunningly tasty, they are also fabulously healthy!
Part of the “sour” category or foods, raspberries are great for bringing our heart and small intestine into balance.
Raspberries are traditionally thought of as a deep red colour; however, they also come in black; purple; yellow and golden colours as well. Each colour has its own unique composition of vitamins; minerals and antioxidants.
For ease, though, we will concentrate on the health benefits of the most widely available and consumed variety; the rich red ones!
Here are some of the benefits of eating red raspberries:-
Increased Brainpower – There have been several research studies looking at the correlation between the intake of flavonoids in berries with increased memory capabilities, as well as the possibility that they may also slow down the decline of cognitive ability, which can happen as part of the ageing process.
Good for our hearts – A report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutritionlinked the intake of flavonoid-rich foods, like raspberries, with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease. The study concluded that even small amounts of flavonoid-rich foods may be beneficial. The high level of polyphenols in raspberries are believed to also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by preventing the build-up of platelets. These polyphenols are also believed to be responsible for reducing blood pressure, as a result of their anti-inflammatory properties.
A further study was carried out by Aedin Cassidy, Ph. D., MSc, BSc, (a nutrition professor at Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia in England). She led an 18-year study in conjunction with Harvard Public School of Health, which tracked 93,600 women aged 25-42. She stated that their study was able to show "for the first time that a regular, sustained intake of anthocyanins from berries can reduce the risk of a heart attack by 32% in young and middle-aged women."
Additionally, the high potassium levels in raspberries also supports a healthy heart.
Potential Cancer prevention – Raspberries, like all berries, are full of powerful antioxidants, which are the body’s free-radical (abnormal cells) eliminator. They help to decrease inflammation in our body. Essentially, the same polyphenols which protect our hearts against disease also ward off, or slow down, many types of cancer including oesophageal; lung; mouth; pharynx; pancreatic; prostate and colon.
Managing Diabetes – All plant foods with skin has lots of fibre (raspberries have lots of skin!). Eating lots of high fibre foods helps to keep blood sugar levels stable. Studies have shown that people with type 1 diabetes who consume lots of high fibre foods, have lower blood glucose levels. Those with type 2 diabetes may also have improved blood sugar; lipid and insulin levels as well, by eating high fibre foods.
Good digestion; detox abilities and disease prevention – Raspberries have high levels of both fibre and water. This can help to prevent constipation, as well as help to maintain a health digestive tract. Adequate daily levels of fibre are crucially important for the necessary daily excretion of toxins from our body. Daily fibre has also been shown to be vitally important for a healthy immune system. It is also exceptionally important in the prevention of inflammatory diseases like heart disease; diabetes; obesity and cancer.
The Department of Internal Medicine and Nutritional Sciences Programme at the University of Kentucky in the USA, stated that high fibre is associated with significantly lower risk levels of contracting coronary heart disease; strokes; hypertension; diabetes; obesity and gastrointestinal disease. Higher fibre intake has also been proven to lower blood pressure as well as “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, as well as enhancing weight loss for obese people. The recommended daily intake of fibre for women is about 25g and 30g for men. A cup of raspberries contains 8g of fibre.
Healthy Eyes – Raspberries are really high in Vitamin C. Vitamin C has been proven to help keep our eyes healthy by providing protection against UV light damage. Raspberries also contain a particular antioxidant called zeaxanthin, which filters out harmful blue light rays. It is thought to play a key role in eye health and may possibly ward off damage from macular degeneration. Three or more servings of fruit per day has also been shown to decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration. It has also been shown to slow down its progression.
One cup of raw raspberries provides 54% of our vitamin C needs; 12% of vitamin K; 6% of folate; 5% of vitamin E, iron, and potassium, and 41% of our manganese needs for the day. This is in addition to lesser amounts of thiamin; riboflavin; niacin; pantothenic acid; vitamin B6; calcium; magnesium; phosphorus; zinc; and copper.
Raspberries also contain the antioxidants alpha and beta-carotene; lutein; zeaxanthin and choline. They are also a good source of polyphenols, such as anthocyanin; flavonols and ellagitannins, all of which decrease oxidative damage from free-radicals and have shown potential in animal and human studies for preventing or reducing the risk of chronic conditions such as cancer and heart disease.