Rich Red Raspberries
A cup of fresh raspberries gives you high levels of several vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function at its best. For example, you’ll get 186mg of potassium, an electrolyte present in many sports drinks that helps maintain healthy blood pressure and helps regulate the flow of hydration in and out of the cells of the body. You’ll also get 31mg of calcium, which supports healthy bone development and is necessary for your heart and muscles to function well. Raspberries also nourish the body with lutein and zeaxanthin, plant pigments that have been found to help protect against macular degeneration.
Beyond the nutritional benefits, raspberries are rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, or natural nutritive chemicals, that help to protect us against excessive inflammation and neutralize harmful free radicals.
The result is a lowered risk of chronic conditions such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and atherosclerosis.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of raspberries are reported to have anti-cancer benefits, too. They have been shown to alter the development or reproduction of cancer cells, reducing inflammation and lowering oxidative stress.
Be sure to purchase your raspberries fully ripened to reap their optimal antioxi-dant benefits yet keep in mind that they are highly perishable and can develop mold easily when stored at room temperature. It’s best to keep them in the refrigerator and consume them within no more than two days after purchase.
In spite of their deliciously sweet tang, moderate amounts of raspberries fit within most diets, even those aimed at stabilizing blood sugar. One cup of fresh raspberries provides only about 15 grams of carbohy-drates and only 5 to 6 grams of sugar.
If you’ve wondered about those small fleshy spheres that make up the fruit, you’ll want to know that raspberries are “aggregate” fruits: they are made up of many small individual fruits that come from multiple ripened ovaries sourced from a single flower. Those juicy little spheres are called “drupelets” and each one has its own seed.
Raspberries belong to the rose family, as do apples, apricots, blackberries, cherries, peaches, pears, plums and strawberries. It has not been confirmed where raspberries originated, but wild raspberries grow on at least five continents around the world. The West Coast of the U.S. boasts the highest production of raspberries.
Raspberries do freeze very well so you can buy them at peak ripeness and save them to enjoy in the future. Wash them gently to help maintain their delicate shape and then pat them dry with a paper towel. Arrange them in a single layer on a flat pan or cookie sheet and store them in the freezer. Once they’re frozen, transfer the berries to a sealed container or heavy plastic freezer bag and return them to the freezer. They will keep for up to one year.
Smooth Out Your DayTry this delicious raspberry smoothie made with raspberries, banana and avocado. It’s super nutritious, rich, cool, and amazingly satisfying. Absolutely dreamy for a hot summer’s day!
Avocado Berry Smoothie2 cups frozen raspberries 1 frozen banana 1 fresh avocado 1 Tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice ½ to 1 cup alkaline water
Put all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend into a creamy treat. Eat with a spoon or add a little more water and sip through a straw.
Brenda Cobb is author of The Living Foods Lifestyle® and founder of The Living Foods Institute, an educational center and therapy spa in Atlanta offering healthy lifestyle courses in nutrition, cleansing, healing, anti-aging, detoxification, relaxation and cleansing therapies. For more information, call 404-524-4488 or 1-800-844-9876, or visit www.LivingFoodsInstitute.com.