Fruit Facts: Raspberries

Healthy Recipes and Nutrition, Nutrition
on November 14, 2011

Everyone knows that a healthy diet includes plenty of fresh fruits, but did you know that raspberries have uniquely fortifying qualities? The health benefits of raspberries are numerous and surprising. Get the inside dish and find out all you need to know about the health benefits of raspberries.

Raspberries defined. These soft and delicate, aggregate fruits – so named for their unique composition of a number of small drupelet clusters — are cultivated from June to October in warm places such as Chile, California, North Carolina and more. Raspberries are a member of the rose family. Their delicate texture makes them perfect for snacking or sprinkling on salads, topping cereal, and blending into delicious and nutritious smoothies.

The pick of the berry. Shopping at a farmer's market when raspberries are in full season — the summer months in most places — improves your chances of finding fresh, local berries. Of course, you can find raspberries in the grocery store, too. It's a good idea to select raspberries that are organic, if you can, as the nooks and crannies make them hard to wash completely. Ripe raspberries will be bright reddish to almost purple, and should be firm and dry to the touch. Check the container of berries you select carefully and avoid wet, moldy, or unripe and pale berries. According to the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at North Carolina State University, smaller containers of berries are best, as smaller packaging ensures the berries will not be crushed or damaged by weight. A raspberry should feel a little heavy to the touch, indicating ripeness and sweetness, and will last about a week. You can even freeze raspberries, if necessary. The texture is lost, but the flavor and nutrients stay intact. There are varieties of raspberries that are unusual in color. The most common is pinkish red, but you can also find, black, purple, orange, yellow and white raspberries.

Raspberries are full of good things. Biochemist, pioneering organic farmer, author and nutrition expert George Mateljan founded a not-for-profit foundation in order to share the benefits of healthy eating with as many people as possible. In his book, The World's Healthiest Foods: Essential Guide for the Healthiest Way of Eating and on his website, Mateljan cites raspberries as being loaded with health benefits including antioxidant properties, anti- inflammatory properties and many other intriguing claims. Raspberries contain loads of fiber, vitamin C and manganese. Additionally, they're a good source of riboflavin, folate, niacin, magnesium and copper. Raspberries are considered so healthful that you can actually find concentrated raspberry sold as a dietary supplement. It's safe to say, the delicious raspberry isn't just a treat for the taste buds — raspberries treat the entire body.