Why Raspberries May be the World’s Healthiest Food

Friday Jun 20 | BY |
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Raspberries

Raspberries have shown in studies to help prevent cancer and heart disease and to slow aging.

Raspberries, along with blueberries and blackberries, are one of North America’s many native superfoods. Related to the rose family, red raspberries are thought to have originated in Eurasia, and then were carried by animals and people across the Arctic land bridge to the Americas. Black raspberries are indigenous to the Americas.

The simple raspberry helps your body beat cancer. Raspberries can stimulate your body’s stem cell response to promote healthy bones and speed up bone repair after fractures. Researchers in Japan found that taking an extract of red raspberries stimulated collagen and growth factor response, and encouraged stem cell differentiation into “osteoblasts”—specific types of stem cell that promotes bone formation.

This is just the beginning of the list of the raspberry’s powers.

Antioxidant Value of Red Raspberries

The healing power in raspberries comes from their high antioxidant value. Red raspberries are high in vitamin C, quercitin, and gallic acid—all compounds that fight cancer, prevent cardiovascular disease, and slow aging.

Antioxidants

Source: Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission

They also have ellagic acid, a health giving compounding that has anti-inflammatory properties. Health experts believe that the best ellagic acid is found in red raspberries. The American Cancer Society suggests that ellagic acid may slow the growth of some types of tumors. The way it works hasn’t been completely studied yet, but there seems to be an anti-estrogen connection. Ellagic acid may also reduce heart disease, birth defects, liver problems, and help promote wound healing.

Raspberry Ketones Improve Metabolism

In Japan, raspberry extract is used for weight loss. Research has shown that compounds called keytones that are found in abundance in red raspberries help metabolize fat. America is catching on. Dr. Oz called raspberry ketones “fat burners in a bottle.”

Raspberry ketone is a natural phenolic compound, which gives red raspberries their unique aroma. However, since the level of ketones in raspberries is very small, you have to take a lot to get the weight loss effect. Supplement companies extract and concentrate raspberry ketones and bottle them for market.

To be effective, however, you may have to take several thousand times the natural concentration of ketones found in a cup of fresh berries. It’s fascinating consumer marketing, but does it really work?

Here’s a breakdown from my clinical experience. The chemical structure of raspberry ketones is similar to synephrine, a stimulant compound used for weight loss. The studies have been conducted on mice, not people, and results varied.

Synephrine is an alkaloid found in some plants and animals, as well as in approved drugs products as neo-synephrine. It is found in low concentrations in common foods like orange juice, and in citrus preparations used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), such as Zhi Shi—immature dried whole oranges from citrus aurantium.

Red Versus Black

Most of the recent research has focused on red raspberries, but black ones are also good for you. Black raspberries are native to North America. Research suggests that black raspberries have much the same cancer protective effects as red raspberries.

When it comes to antioxidant value, black raspberries come out on top. Research at the University of Oregon places the antioxidant “ORAC” values of black raspberries as much higher than red ones.

ORAC

Source: Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission

Whole, Fresh Versus Extract

Eating whole, fresh raspberries is better than consuming extracts. To get enough of the active ingredients, however, eating raw berries requires too much. For medical use, you’ll have to take standardized extracts. Wild raspberries are healthier than commercially grown ones. Frozen wild berries are a good option when you can’t pick them fresh.

Is Raspberry Extract Safe?

Whether fresh or frozen, the amount consumed as a daily super food is safe and non-toxic. The large amount needed for weight loss effects, however, may produce adverse effects including heart palpitations and shakiness. Raspberry ketones can have a negative interaction with the blood thinner Coumadin.

There is no current reliable clinical research on the safety or adverse reactions of raspberry ketones. It’s hard to tell what you’re getting in the bottle. Levels of ketones vary among different companies.

Until we know more, stay with fresh or frozen whole raspberries. Raspberry leaves can be used as a soothing tea, but they do not have the same level of ketones and antioxidants as the fruit. When taking raspberry ketones stay within recommend amounts, typically about 500 mg daily of the standardized extra.

Dr. J. E. Williams

J. E. WILLIAMS, OMD, FAAIM

Dr. Williams is a pioneer in integrative and functional medicine, the author of six books, and a practicing clinician with over 100,000 patient visits. His areas of interest include longevity and viral immunity. Formerly from San Diego, he now resides in Sarasota, Florida and practices at the Florida Integrative Medical Center. He teaches at NOVA Southeastern University and Emperor’s College of Oriental Medicine.

Visit Dr. Williams’ Website: https://drjewilliams.com/

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  1. June Hanson says:

    Terrific article, My, Dear Doctor ! I, eat berries, almost every day. Rasberries are my favorite, next, blueberries. No wonder, your anti-aging therapies work on me. I complement them with berries. Berries, must be organic. It is impossible to get pesticides off of them. Buy fresh and always keep wild frozen ones.

    Next favorite is, tropical fruit. Now, black cherries, which is such a beneficial fruit. What a great snack, Would like to hear your imput on them.

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