Raspberries and lemons are not only utterly delicious, they are also exceptionally healthy! Great news! I have featured them in a new Elderflower & Raspberry Cordial, which I felt would be divinely yummy as well as exceptionally energy-enhancing......
So, what are their benefits? Well...... Here's more about Raspberries
There are a few recipes which include raspberries in Volume One of The Alchemist's Cookbook Series: 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!
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 the The Alchemist's Cookbook Volume One. 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 Nutrition linked 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.
As for lemons, well...... I love lemons! They feature in many of the health-giving drinks and cordials as well as in some of the cakes in Volume One of The Alchemist's Cookbook Series. I have also included my Diabetic-Friendly Lemon Curd, which is great for all the family! It is sweetened with Agave Syrup rather than cane sugar; so is much healthier for us as a result, as it neither provides a huge sugar surge and consequent fall nor does it taste overly sweet. Homemade lemon curd made in this way is not only delicious, it is highly nutritious and healthy, too! And, of course tastes “Yummy-licious”! They are also one of the three drinks in the Alkalising Shots, which are designed to bring your body back into balance. They are also in the Elderflower & Ginger Cordial as well as my brand new recipe Elderflower & Raspberry Cordial.
One of the most interesting things about lemons is, that although they are “sour” and part of this category of foods, so good for bringing into balance the liver and gallbladder, they are an alkaline-forming rather than acid-forming food. This often comes as a big surprise to people, as they do have a very tart taste. Like Raw Cider Apple Vinegar, as well as all citrus fruits, they leave behind an alkaline ash in the body. This balances out our pH levels and alkalises our bodies as a result. All inflammatory conditions are caused by excess acid in the body, so drinking, for example, a mug or cup of fresh lemon juice with hot or lukewarm water in the mornings is exceptionally beneficial for maintaining the correct pH balance for optimum health. Such an easy thing to do! Lemons are incredible or, even better, have one of the Alkalising Shots, which has the added alkaliser of bicarbonate of soda - tastes like a mini shot of lemonade - without the sugar shot!! They are exceptionally high in antioxidants, as well as being antibacterial; anti-inflammatory; anti-viral; they have antihistamine properties; are insect repellents; are analgesics (pain relievers) and, of course the aforementioned alkalising powers are tremendous!
As a result of all these great properties, lemons can treat:-
Stops internal bleeding – the antiseptic and coagulant properties stop internal bleeding
Rheumatism – as lemon has diuretic qualities, it helps to flush out bacteria and toxins from the body, thus aiding rheumatism and arthritis
Burns – lemons are cooling, so can be applied onto a burn immediately to soothe it
Scarring – applying lemon to scars helps them to fade
Respiratory Disorders – lemon juice relieves respiratory problems and breathing problems, so can be used if someone is suffering from an asthma attack. Also, being a rich source of Vitamin C, it can help to deal with more long-term respiratory conditions
High Blood Pressure – lemon juice is helpful for people suffering from heart problems, because it contains potassium. It controls high blood pressure; dizziness and nausea, because it provides a calming sensation to both the mind and body. It is commonly employed to reduce mental stress and depression
Damaged hair; skin and nails – great for restoring health
Our immune system – lemon strengthens our ability to resist colds and flus, etc.
Our stomach – lemon cleanses and strengthens our stomach
Our blood – it acts as a blood purifier
Weight Loss – having the Easy-Peasy Lemon Fizz Drink or lukewarm water with lemon and honey can help reduce body weight
As an antioxidant, it also contains potential cancer-healing properties
When combined with the ingredients in the various drinks and cordials I have created, lemon works even more effectively as all the other ingredients are also packed full of nutrients and antioxidants. One of the quickest and easiest ways to take advantage of all the benefits of lemons though, is through drinking its juice. Lemon juice is well known, for example, as a useful treatment for kidney stones as well as reducing strokes and lowering body temperature.
I read an article some years ago, which said that there have been scientific studies that have concluded lemon juice is four times more effective than chemotherapy at getting rid of cancer! Lemons have tremendously high levels of antioxidants. Vitamin C being one of these, plus high levels of Vitamins A; B6 and the other B-complex properties of Folate; Niacin; Thiamin; Riboflavin and Pantotheic Acid. They are also packed full of minerals such as Copper; Calcium; Iron; Magnesium; Potassium; Zinc; Phosphorous and also high levels of protein. The article stated that the preferred dose to take is the juice of three to five lemons per day in a little water. Taking the Lemon Alkalising Shot (see Alkalising Shots in the Balancing Cordials & Drinks Section), which also contains bicarbonate of soda, thus further acting as an alkaliser for our bodies, would be potentially even more effective. This is because this combination transforms our body from an acidic state (where tumours flourish) to an alkaline state, where they are unable to reside. Having this drink is generally great if we are overly acidic (symptoms being any inflammatory condition), so is great for all of us to have on a regular basis, regardless!
There have also been studies carried out at the American Urological Association, which highlights the fact that lemon juice can eliminate the occurrence of kidney stones by forming urinary citrate, which prevents the formation of crystals.
The results from a study carried out by the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, concluded that lemons provide protection from inflammatory polyarthritis and arthritis.
The antioxidant levels in lemons is very high. Antioxidants are THE body’s way of disarming the “naughty cells” (as I refer to them), which are medically known as free-radicals. Antioxidants are the greatest anti-inflammatory agents our bodies can benefit from; so this is why lemons are so magnificent, aiding all of the above conditions and is part of the reason why this wonderful little fruit is SO fabulous!