A recent study out of King’s College London found another reason to love raspberries: They may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
In the clinical trial, 10 men consumed drinks that contained either 200 grams or 400 grams of frozen raspberries or a placebo drink. All the drinks were similar in taste, color and quantity of disease-fighting polyphenol compounds. The researchers matched up the beverages in this way — including the placebo — so any benefits noted could be attributed to the raspberries, specifically. Participants underwent three blood and urine tests — one before consuming the drink, another two hours afterward and the last test one day later.
Results showed the individuals who consumed the raspberry drink had improved flow-mediated dilation (FMD) two hours afterward, a benefit that lingered for 24 hours. This is an important discovery because FMD is a great indicator of endothelium health, the layer of cells lining the blood vessels – poor endothelial function usually signals heart health risk. According to the researchers, if raspberries can produce a change in FMD long enough, it would reduce the risk of heart disease 15 percent.
An additional finding was that as FMD improved, the level of urolithin metabolites increased. These substances are manufactured by bacteria in the gut during digestion of ellagitannins, a compound found in raspberries.
Further studies are needed to confirm the findings. The study was published in the journal The Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics. It was partly funded by raspberry growers and importers.
Health Benefits of Raspberries
Raspberries offer up multiple health benefits. Here are a few noteworthy examples
- Test tube and animal studies show they may help prevent cancer. They contain a phenolic compound called ellagic acid, which can kill certain types of cancer cells. Another of their beneficial constituents is quercetin, a compound shown to fight breast cancer in rodents.
- Raspberries have anti-inflammatory properties that can help protect against arthritis and gout. Researchers believe this effect is due to their content of anthocyanins.
- The fruit’s antioxidant content is very high – roughly equivalent to that found in blueberries. These compounds are linked to slower aging and greater longevity, as well as protection against cardiovascular disease, dementia and macular degeneration.
Tips for Including Raspberries in the Diet
Experts recommend eating three servings of raspberries per week. They may be purchased fresh, freeze-dried or frozen, since research indicates frozen fruits retain many of the nutrients found in fresh fruits. If you choose the latter two options, read the label to see if sugar is added. They’re delicious eaten right out of the hand, but they also make great smoothies and tasty additions to spinach salad, chicken salad and oatmeal. When mixed with plain yogurt or cottage cheese, they make a healthy dessert. Bon appétit!
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.