Raspberry Fruit And Its Health Benefits
Latin Name : Rubus idaeus
Raspberry, also called hindberry, is the fruit of a wide variety of species of the genus Rubus. The most commonly, widely available and grown is the red coloured raspberry fruit. Raspberries come in a variety of colours ranging from black, purple, orange, red, golden to white.
Raspberry plant is believed to be a native of Eastern Asia. The plant which produces the red raspberry fruit is the Rubus idaeus. This plant is native to Europe & North Asia though it is now cultivated in other temperate regions of the world.
Raspberry is a perennial plant with a woody stem. The plant needs good amount of sunshine and water to flourish. The fruit is red and sweet but has a tart flavour. It is a aggregate fruit as the fruit is composed of individual drupelets arranged around a central hollow core .
The red raspberry is a hybrid of R.idaeus and R.strigosus varieties. The purple variety has been produced horticulturally and is a hybrid of the red and black variety. The purple variety occurs where the red and black varieties are present in their natural state.
Purple raspberries are rarely grown commercially.
The yellow or the golden raspberry is a form of the red and black raspberry since the absence of the anthocyanin pigment results in the production of these raspberries.
Each fruit or berry is composed of about 100 drupelets. Each drupelet has a seed in it and is enclosed by a pulpy material.
Uses Of Raspberries
- Raspberries are eaten fresh or are used in production of processed foods like jams, jellies, puree, fruit juice, syrups, pies etc.
- When dried they are used in grocery products.
- Raspberry extracts are used to flavour drinks and foods.
- Raspberry leaves are used in making herbal teas.
- The red raspberry leaf has been used intraditional medicine for easing and speeding childbirth. It also fortifies mother's milk.
Raspberry contains appreciable amounts of anthocyanin pigments which are natural antioxidants. Because of the aggregate fruit structure, the dietary fibre is amongst the highest amongst the plant foods.
It is an excellent source of Vitamin C, manganese and fibre plus it has appreciable amounts of Bcomplex vitamins, folic acid, magnesium, copper and iron.
Also present in good amounts are the various polyphenols like ellagic acid, quercetin, gallic acid, anthocyanins, cyanadin, catechin, kaemferol and salicylic acid.
Raspberries have a very high ORAC value of 4900 making it a very effective free radical scavenger.
An added advantage is the low glycemic index (GI).
Golden yellow Raspberries
Raspberry Nutrition Levels
Raspberry (Rubus idaeus), ORAC Value 4900/100 g
Nutritive Value per 100 g,
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Percentage of RDA
Health Benefits Of Raspberries
- Raspberries because of their numerous antioxidants have been found to be useful in preventing cancer, heart diseases and macular degeneration of the eyes.
- The salicylic acid content is supposed to prevent hardening of the arteries.
- It reduces allergic reactions due to its anti histamic action.
- Raspberries prevent damages to the cell membranes and other components, reduces fungi and some bacterial growth in the body.
- Raspberries have a low glycemic index which means the carbohydrates break up slowly and thus slow down the release of sugar in the blood stream. This causes a lower demand of insulin from the body and is especially beneficial for diabetics. It also helps to lower the risk of developing diabetes.
- Raspberries increase haemoglobin due to their iron & folate content.
- They reduce fever, diarrhoea and dysentery, relieve bladder and urinary tract infections.
- Raspberries keep the skin, bones nails ,teeth and hair healthy.
- They help to give relief in gout, arthritis, constipation and kidney stones.
- Tea made of raspberry leaves regulates menses, relieves cramps and encourages speedy childbirth. The leaves relieve sore throat and other digestive disorders.The fragrine component tones the reproductive system.
- A decoction of raspberry root helps in controlling diarrhoea and dystentery. Take 1-2 tsp twice a day.
- Raspberry seed oil has a component that protects against ultra violet radiation.
How To Make Raspberry Tea
Pour a glass of boiling water on 1 to 2 tsp of dried raspberry leaves. Cover this and let it stand for 10 minutes. Strain, add sugar and drink warm.
Raspberry tea has been used in folk medicine for relieving leg cramps, diarrhoea, in morning sickness of pregnancy, as a uterine relaxant to assist in speedy childbirth, in oral infections, menstrual spasms, anaemia etc.
Raspberry Ketone For Fat Loss
About Raspberry Ketone
It is a naturally occurring phenolic substance in the raspberry fruit and is the factor for the aroma of the raspberries. It is the natural flavour used in perfumes, cosmetics and food additives.
About 1 to 4 mg of raspberry ketone can be extracted from 1 kg raspberries.
Raspberry ketone is also produced chemically as the natural availability of this is vey low.
Raspberry ketone has been shown to prevent increase of body weight in high fat diets in experiments on mice. Products with raspberry ketone are sold as weight loss products.
It works in 2 ways :
- By increasing the levels of the hormone - norepinerphrine which causes excess fat to melt away by increasing the body temperature
- by increasing the level of the hormone - adiponectin which lowers blood glucose levels and thus prevents storage of extra fat.
However some medical opinions suggest that inclusion of raspberry ketone may cause increased heart rate, blood pressure and may affect the thyroid. They suggest a medical evaluation for people who are on various medications, have diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma or are on anti depressants or have raspberry allergy, before they consider inclusion of raspberry ketone.
Raspberry ketone, however, is on the list of compounds declared as safe by USDA.
Selection & Storage Of Raspberries
Raspberries are a quickly perishable fruit hence it is best tp purchase when they are to be consumed. Choose ripe berries only as the unripe berries will not ripen after they are plucked. They should be firm, plump, brightly coloured and have a bright look.
Store them in the fridge and they will keep good for a day or two. But remove any that appear discoloured, moulded or spoilt. spread them without washing on a paper towel lined tray or plate and cover with a plastic wrap before you keep them in the fridge.
If you want to freeze them for a longer storage then wash them gently and pat them dry. arrange them in a flat pan with butter paper or cookie sheet under them. and put them in the freezer. Once they are frozen put them in a thick airtight plastic bag and store in the freezer.
If you want to preserve their colour add some lemon juice to the raspberries before freezing.
Frozen raspberries stored in the freezer keep good for at least 12 months.
Precautions For Rasberry Consumption
People with kidney or gall bladder problems should avoid raspberries as they contain oxalates in appreciable amounts. Excess oxalates in the body fluids may lead to their crystallisation and subsequent health concerns.
Hence check with your doctor before you start consuming raspberries.
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The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements.
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© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly