Raspberries are a popular berry with a rich color and sweet juicy taste. They are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
In this article, we look at the health benefits of the red raspberry. We provide a nutritional breakdown, discuss ways to incorporate raspberries into the diet, and explain the possible health risks.
The antioxidant content of plant foods, such as raspberries, may help prevent a range of health conditions.
Raspberries also contain plant chemicals called flavonoids, which have antioxidant effects.
Antioxidants help the body eliminate toxic substances known as free radicals. The body produces some of these substances during metabolic processes, but others result from external factors, such as unhealthful foods and pollution. Unhealthful foods include processed foods and those high in fat and sugar.
If too many free radicals remain in the body, they can cause cell damage, resulting in a range of health problems.
Raspberries are also a good source of fiber. One cup of raspberries contains 8 grams (g) of fiber. Current guidelines recommend that adults aged 19 years and over should consume between 22.4 g and 33.6 g of fiber a day, depending on their age and sex.
Experts have suggested that consuming a diet rich in antioxidants can contribute to the health of the brain and the neurological system.
There is evidence that vitamins C and E may help protect a person's ability to think and remember information as they get older. Raspberries contain these antioxidant vitamins.
Find out which foods are good sources of antioxidants.
Various antioxidants may reduce a person's risk of cardiovascular disease by preventing platelet buildup and lowering blood pressure using anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
The American Heart Association encourage most people to increase their potassium intake and reduce the amount of sodium in their diet. These dietary adjustments can help prevent high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
One cup of raspberries contains 186 milligrams (mg) of potassium. The AHA recommend consuming around 4,700 mg of potassium each day.
The fiber in raspberries can also help manage or prevent:
What other foods can keep your heart healthy? Find out here.
In 2010, scientists treated stomach, colon, and breast cancer cells with an extract of Meeker red raspberries. The extract killed more than 90% of the cells. The researchers estimated that antioxidants were responsible for about half of the destruction of breast cancer cells.
Learn more about the link between diet and cancer.
The antioxidants in berries may help prevent inflammation, which could be a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
The authors of a 2018 review concluded that dietary fiber might lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and improve symptoms in people who already have this condition.
Raspberries are naturally sweet, and people do not usually need to add sugar to them. Their sweetness makes them a useful addition to the diet when a person is seeking to manage diabetes or excess weight. However, they do contain some natural sugar. People with diabetes should take this into account.
What are the best foods to eat with diabetes? Find out here.
The fiber and water content in raspberries can help prevent constipation and maintain a healthy digestive tract. Adequate fiber promotes the regularity of bowel movements, which is crucial for the daily excretion of toxins.
Increased fiber intake may also help with:
- managing blood pressure
- reducing cholesterol levels
- supporting weight loss
Why do we need dietary fiber? Find out here.
Raspberries contain the antioxidant zeaxanthin, which filters out harmful blue light rays.
It may play a role in protecting the eyes from problems such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that causes vision problems in older people.
Raspberries contain other key nutrients, including:
Vitamin C: This vitamin is important for making collagen, which the body needs to keep the skin and joints healthy.
Folate: Folate is necessary for proper cell division. During pregnancy, doctors prescribe it to encourage the healthy growth of the unborn child.
Vitamin K: The body needs this vitamin for proper blood clotting.
A 123 g cup of raspberries contains the following nutrients:
- Water: 105.0 g
- Energy 64 calories
- Protein: 1.5 g
- Carbohydrate: 14.7 g, of which 5.4 g is sugar
- Fiber: 8.0 g
- Calcium: 30.8 mg
- Magnesium: 27.1 mg
- Iron: 0.8 mg
- Phosphorus: 35.7 mg
- Potassium: 186.0 mg
- Zinc: 0.5 mg
- Copper 0.1 mg
- Manganese: 0.8 mg
- Selenium: 0.2 micrograms (mcg)
- Vitamin C: 32.2 mg
- Folate: 25.8 mcg
- Choline: 15.1 mg
- Vitamin E: 1.1 mg
- Vitamin K: 9.6 mcg
- Lutein + zeaxanthin: 167.0 mcg
- Alpha carotene: 19.7 mcg
- Beta carotene: 14.8 mcg
Current guidelines recommend that women and men consume 75 mg and 90 mg, respectively, of vitamin C each day.
Therefore, a cup of raspberries can provide more than one-third of the daily requirement for vitamin C. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding will require a higher intake.
Vitamins C and E, alpha and beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, choline, and selenium are just some of the antioxidants that raspberries contain.
Raspberries are available fresh, frozen, and freeze-dried or as an ingredient in jellies, syrups, and jams.
Fresh or frozen raspberries are best, as other raspberry products usually contain added sugars. Where possible, check the label and buy raspberry products without added sugars.
Ways to include fresh or frozen raspberries in the diet include:
- adding them to smoothies, yogurt, or oatmeal
- making a fresh fruit cocktail with raspberries, pineapple, sliced peaches, and strawberries
- adding raspberries, grapes, and walnuts to a chicken salad
- topping whole-grain waffles or pancakes with fresh raspberries
- blending raspberries in a food processor with a little water and using the mixture as a fresh syrup for desserts, ice cream sundaes, or breakfast foods
- mixing raspberries into a spinach salad with walnuts and goat cheese
As fruits can sometimes contain pesticide residue, it is best to buy organic raspberries where possible.
Some people take supplements called raspberry ketones, which contain chemical extracts from raspberries and other plants. Manufacturers claim that these supplements can help people lose weight or prevent hair loss.
However, there is a lack of scientific evidence to show that raspberry ketones are safe or effective for these purposes. Some of these products contain stimulants, which can have adverse effects on some people.
Learn more about raspberry ketones.
It is important to speak to a doctor before using any supplement. Apart from the risk of adverse effects, some supplements can interact with medications. In many cases, people spend a lot of money on a product that has no effect.
Raspberries, like other berries, provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. These are all beneficial for health.
As with any healthful ingredient, raspberries can be useful as part of a balanced, nutritious diet.
It is also worth remembering that dishes containing added sugar, fat, and other ingredients are unlikely to provide the same health benefits as raspberries alone.
Plain, fresh raspberries will be more healthful than processed raspberry desserts, preserves, and dishes containing cream and added sugar.