(NaturalNews) Raspberries are not only tasty, they are very rich in various phytonutrients that make them a delicious way to fortify the body. The vast majority of the phytonutrients found in raspberries are provided in amounts that are significant in terms of protection against the dangers of oxidative stress and excessive inflammation. Raspberries are also an excellent source of vitamin C, manganese, and dietary fiber, and a good source of copper, vitamin K, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin E, magnesium, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, and potassium. It is not surprising to see this fruit on top of the list to help prevent cancer and chronic inflammation. Research has shown that the antioxidant compounds in raspberries are anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and anti-degenerative, which means they offer protection from many chronic conditions.
Raspberries and cancer-prevention
Every year, we learn more and more about the benefits of these nutrition powerhouse fruits. Raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries in particular have shown very promising potential to help prevent cancer. Raspberries contain strong antioxidants such as vitamin C, quercetin and a particularly high amount of ellagic acid. Ellagic acid is a very strong antioxidant that helps the body deactivate specific carcinogens and helps slow the reproduction of cancer cells. In laboratory studies, this phytochemical has shown the ability to prevent cancers of the skin, bladder, lung, esophagus and breast.
How raspberries can help reduce inflammation
Raspberries have been shown to help inhibit the production of COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. Both COX-1 and COX-2 are involved in the inflammation process. They convert arachidonic acid to prostaglandin, resulting in pain and inflammation, associated with arthritis, gout and other inflammatory conditions. Researchers at the University of Rhode Island reported that red raspberry extract reduced inflammation, cartilage damage, and bone resorption and thus may prove helpful in modulating the development and severity of arthritis.
Antimicrobial properties and high fiber content of raspberries
Raspberries contain anthocyanins, which have both antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. One advantage of anthocyanins is their ability to prevent the growth of Candida albicans, the culprit in many vaginal infections as well as a trigger in irritable bowel syndrome. Because candida typically thrives on sugar, many of the high sugar fruits are discouraged while on a candida diet. But berries such as raspberries are beneficial because of their antimicrobial activities and their fiber-to-sugar ratio. The relatively low sugar content, coupled with the high fiber content, make raspberries a great fruit choice by helping to restore the flora and balance blood glucose levels.
Note: Raspberries are number 27 on the Environmental Working Group's "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce," a list of produce that carries the most pesticide residues when grown conventionally. So choosing organic raspberries makes good sense. Recent research on organic raspberries has also shown organic raspberries to be significantly higher in total antioxidant capacity than non-organic raspberries.
Sources for this article include:
Deborah Mitchell, The Complete Book of Nutritional Healing, Mass Market Paperback - December 30, 2008
About the author: Originally from France, Joséphine Beck has qualification in digestive care and nutritional product advising, and holds a master degree in communication and information. She now lives in BC, Canada. Joséphine is the founder of the website OptiDerma.com, through which she helps people find natural remedies for skin problems.