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Raspberries…good for you? Bad for you? What’s the deal?

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Category : healthy eating

muesliRaspberries are one of those fruits that everyone SHOULD eat, but doesn’t.  I am going to give you a little background on raspberries and let you decide for yourself why you aren’t eating them on a regular basis.

Raspberries come in six different colors, the one that we are used to seeing is red, but they also come in white, purple, black, orange and yellow. They are available from midsummer through late fall.  I’m sure you see them year round in your grocery store…but how do they look?  Probably not so good, I don’t ever suggest purchasing fruits or vegetables when they are “out of season”.  The reason for this is that they are either shipped in from another country, one that doesn’t have the same standards as we do, or they have add so many chemicals to keep them “looking good for you”, that it’s not worth it.

Raspberries have tons of antioxidants and all kinds of good stuff in them, that I am going to discuss, but I wanted to bring something up, that you probably didn’t know.  The fruit is not the only good part…the leaves of raspberries is also used for medicinal purposes.  They are used in teas and they have been found to help regulate the menstrual cycle.

Raspberries are rich in vitamin C, as well as manganese.  Both nutrients are great antioxidants that help protect the body from oxygen related damage. They are also a good source of riboflavin, folate, niacin, potassium, copper and magnesium.  They are a great source of fiber.

Studies have shown that raspberries have fifty percent more antioxidants than strawberries; these antioxidants have been found to fight off cancer cells.  Raspberries have also been found to help in heart disease and have a very low glycemic index, which is great for diabetics, because it means that they don’t spike the blood sugar.

Raspberries don’t only have antioxidants, but also antimicrobials!  These antimicrobials fight off the overgrowth of bacteria in your system…which in turn fights off the yeast in your body(Candida albican), which is a frequent culprit in vaginal infections and can be a contributing cause in irritable bowel syndrome.

Raspberries are a very delicate fruit, so you have to be very careful when purchasing and storing this fruit.  You can only keep the fruit in your refrigerator for 2-3 days, so I recommend only purchasing them when you plan on using them.  When picking them out at the market, make sure to pick berries that have good color, plump, and no mold, also make sure they aren’t in a tight fitting container.  Do not leave them in the sunlight or at room temperature for too long, as they spoil quickly.  Raspberries are great for freezing…wash them and place them on a paper towel to pat dry,  then arrange them on a flat pan, single layer, and put into the freezer.  After they have frozen, you can put them in a plastic bag and return to the freezer for up to one year.

Ok, so you’re thinking…there has to be something bad about raspberries…well, your right!  Raspberries contain oxalates, which are naturally occurring substances that are found in our body, as well as plants and animals.  When you have too many oxalates in your body, they can crystallize and cause health problems.  Because of this, people who have kidney or gallbladder issues should probably stay away from raspberries.  Studies have also shown that oxalates can also interfere with the absorption of calcium from the body.  These studies have shown that this is a small number though, so if you have a healthy digestive system and eat a healthy diet, the pros out way the cons in this one.

So, let’s do a quick rundown:

  • Rich in antioxidants, which fight off cancer cells, heart disease and prevents damage to the cell membranes.
  • 3 or more servings of raspberries a day( 1 serving equals 1 cup), have been shown to lower the risk of macular degeneration (main cause of vision loss in adults)
  • Delays the effects of aging
  • The salicylic acid found in raspberries may slow down atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • Contain quercetin, an antioxidant, which hinders the release of histamine, which minimizes allergic reactions
  • High in vitamin C and Manganese, which protect the body from oxygen related damage
  • Low glycemic index, which is good for diabetics, doesn’t spike blood sugar
  • Antioxidants in raspberries are good for inflammation and pain
  • High in fiber

You can find a great source of information at Nutrition Data.  They have information about calorie content, vitamins and nutritional values.

Recipe:

Raspberry Vinaigrette

  • 1 1/3 cups fresh raspberries or thawed frozen unsweetened raspberries
  • 1/3 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Directions:  Throw it all in a blender.  If you don’t like the seeds, after blended, drain through a sleeve.

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