Natural Health Tips

Raspberries: Packed With Antioxidants To Fight Infections And Cancer

Raspberries are deliciously sweet and soft berries packed with powerful antioxidants, which fight off infections, protect against cancer and promote overall health in the long term. They possess almost 50% higher antioxidant activity than strawberries, three times that of kiwis, and ten times the antioxidant activity of tomatoes, according to research conducted in the Netherlands.

Raspberries are closely related to the blackberry and strawberry. Raspberries and blackberries are collectively known as "bramble" fruits, which are fruits formed by the aggregation of several smaller fruits, called drupelets.

Raspberries are one of the top fruit sources of fiber, and also contain phosphorus and selenium, and are an excellent source of Vitamin C. Raspberries are rich in a variety of unique antioxidants and phytochemicals associated with fighting disease. Like other berries, they are high in anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that give the raspberry its vivid color and help the body produce cells to fight off unwanted invaders. These flavonoids also have antimicrobial effects that prevent the proliferation of bacteria and fungi in the digestive system. One of these, candida albicans, causes the infection thrush and has also been linked with digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome.

Health Benefits

As natural treatments, raspberry leaf tea is used to treat nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness. Fresh raspberries, which are high in Vitamin C, have been used to treat and prevent sinus infections.

cancer

There are several recent studies that look at different cancers and the benefits of using raspberries or raspberry extract for potential treatments. A study using a rat model of human esophageal cancer cells found that a diet containing black raspberries significantly reduced cancer cell growth, and another found that they inhibited oral tumor formation. A cell study using the phytochemicals ferulic acid and beta-sitosterol, commonly found in black raspberries, stopped the growth of both premalignant and malignant oral cancer cell growth. A study observing the effects of raspberry extracts on human liver cancer cells found that the more extract that was used, the less replication of cells occurred.

diabetes

Anthocyanins, powerful chemicals found in raspberries, reduce blood glucose levels after starch-rich meals.

obesity

A study using mice fed high-fat diets and varying amounts of raspberries discovered that raspberries helped prevent and improve fatty liver and also reduced obesity.

Tips on Using Raspberries

  • As raspberries are one of the most perishable fruits and are very delicate, handle them with care. Wash them very gently, or place unwashed berries in the refrigerator.

  • Freezing and processing raspberries into preserves destroys much of the Vitamin C content, but fortunately most of the other antioxidants remain.

References

  • Beekwilder J, Hall RD, Ric de Vos CH. Identification and dietary relevance of antioxidants from raspberry. BioFactors, Volume 23, Issue 4, 2005

  • Chen, T., Hwang, H., Rose, M.E., Nines, R.G., & Stoner, G.D. (2006, March). Chemopreventive properties of black raspberries in N-nitrosomethylbenzylamine-induced rat esophageal tumorigenesis: downregulation of cyclooxygenase-2, inducible nitric oxide synthase, and c-Jun. Cancer Res, 66(5), 2853-2859.

  • Larrosa, M., Tomas-Barberan, F.A., & Espin, J.C. (2005, October). The dietary hydrolysable tannin punicalagin releases ellagic acid that induces apoptosis in human colon adenocarcinoma Caco-2 cells by using the mitochondrial pathway. J Nutri Biochem, (Epub ahead of print).

  • Casto, B.C., Kresty, L.A., Kraly, C.L., Pearl, D.K., Knobloch, T.J., Schut, H.A., Stoner, G.D., Mallery, S.R., & Weghorst, C.M. (2002, November-December). Chemoprevention of oral cancer by black raspberries. Anticancer Res, 22(6C), 4005-4015.

  • Han, C., Ding, H., Casto, B., Stoner, G.D., & D-Ambrosio, S.M. (2005). Inhibition of the growth of premalignant and malignant human oral cell lines by extracts and components of black raspberries. Nutr cancer, 51(2), 207-217.

  • Liu, M., Li, X.Q., Weber, C., Lee, C.Y., Brown, J., & Liu, R.H. (2002, May). Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of raspberries. J Agric Food Chem, 50(10), 2926-2930.

  • McDougall, G.J. & Stewart, D. (2005). The inhibitory effects of berry polyphenols on digestive enzymes. Biofactors, 23(4), 189-195.

  • Morimoto, C., Satoh, Y., Hara, M., Inoue, S., Tsujita, T., & Okuda, H. (2005, May). Anti-obese action of raspberry ketone. Life Sciences, 77(2), 194-204.