It’s raspberry season, no better time to enjoy one of the world’s favourite fruits and flavours…
This ubiquitous and resilient little berry is one of the oldest known to us, cultivated for almost as long as records exist. Linked to fertility by the ancients, they even featured in Greek mythology, it being said that the original white berries were stained red forever when Zeus’ nursemaid, Ida, pricked her finger on a thorn.
This tough little plant can be grown in an incredible range of climates, from as far north as the Arctic circle to even tropical regions, though they prefer a cooler climate with the biggest global producers being Russia, Poland and the USA.
High in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, raspberries can help in protecting against oxidative stress and lowering the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Anti-cancer benefits with regard to breast, cervical, and prostate have also been attributed to them, while the National Cancer Institute reported a diet regularly including raspberries has been clinically proven to reduce oesophageal tumours and colon cancer.
The high fibre content in raspberries also makes them popular in a weight loss program, which could aid with lowering blood sugar levels, but they have also been the focus of research into their specific potential impact on fat loss. It appears the phytonutrients – in particular rheosmin (ketone) – found in raspberries might increase fat metabolism. Specifically, rheosmin can decrease activity of fat-digesting enzymes, which may result in reduced digestion and less absorption of fat, however more research is required.
Personally, I eat them because they are delicious, so I suggest:
- Replacing high-calorie snacks such as biscuits and chocolate with melt-in-your-mouth berries
- Replacing half your morning cereal with raspberries
- Mixing frozen raspberries with Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey in blender for a yummy smoothie
- Adding them to your home-made bowl of muesli or porridge
While the benefits of organic fruit and vegetables versus the extra cost is much debated, recent research has shown organic raspberries to be significantly higher in antioxidants than non-organic. Fully ripened raspberries also contain more antioxidants. The important point is reasonably priced punnets of the scrummy little fruits are now readily available – don’t miss the chance to indulge.
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