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RASPBERRIES

Raspberries are among Mother Nature’s most delicous superfruits. A great source of Vitamin C and Manganese, (important for strong bones and healthy blood sugar) raspberries are also very rich in multiple polyphenol and other antioxidants including anthocyanins, flavonoids, tannins and hydroxybenzoic acids that all have a very protective, anti-inflammatory effect on our body1.

As far as skin beauty is concerned, the team of antioxidants in raspberries protect skin cells from free radical damage and premature aging, and is great at killing the harmful bacteria that cause breakouts and acne, encouraging a clear, lumionous complexion.

For anyone wishing to lose weight, a fascinating area of research on raspberries involves management of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Two compounds in raspberries : raspberry ketone (also called rheosmin) and a flavonoid called tiliroside have received special attention for their ability to encourage weight loss.

Raspberry ketone can boost metabolism in our fat cells by increasing enzyme activity, oxygen consumption, and heat productioni. By amplifying fat metabolism in this way, we may be less likely to deposit new fat in our fat cells and may be able to use up some of the fat that is stored there. An improved fat cell metabolism may also reduce the number of pro-inflammatory messaging molecules that are created by fat cells and as a result, we may be less likely to experience some of the inflammation that typically accompanies obesity.

In addition to these benefits, raspberry ketone can also decrease activity of a fat-digesting enzyme called pancreatic lipase that is produced by our pancreas. By decreasing the activity of this enzyme, we may digest and absorb less fat —another potential plus when trying to deal with the consequences obesity2.

In addition to the raspberry ketone, scientists have also focused on the obesity-related benefits of a second antioxidant in raspberries called tiliroside. Tiliroside is a flavonoid that has been show to activate a hormone called adiponectin that is produced by our fat cells and influences energy metabolism. Levels of adiponectin are inversely correlated with body fat percentage in adults. Typically, obese people do not produce enough adiponectin. This is a key problem for regulation of their blood sugar and blood fats, as increased adiponectin levels facilitate energy expenditure. By activating adiponectin, the tiliroside in raspberries can help improve insulin balance, blood sugar balance and blood fat balance. Although there is no indication that raspberry tiliroside will stop weight gain or prevent fat accumulation, it may be able to help prevent unwanted health consequences of too much body fat and help in the regulation of blood sugar, blood insulin, and blood fats.

Last but not least, raspberries (and strawberries) contain a special type of antioxidant tannin called ellagic acid, which has attracted a lot of health attention for its ability to reduce the size of cancers. According to research carried out at the Hollings Cancer Institute, ellagic acid sends signals to cancer cells that program these to dieii. Raspberries are associated with protecting the DNA of healthy cells and reducing the risk of any mutations3.

1 Bowen-Forbes CS, Zhang Y and Nair MG. Anthocyanin content, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties of blackberry and raspberry fruits. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, Volume 23, Issue 6, September 2010, Pages 554-560.

2 Zhang L, Li J, Hogan S et al. Inhibitory effect of raspberries on starch digestive enzyme and their antioxidant properties and phenolic composition. Food Chemistry, Volume 119, Issue 2, 15 March 2010, Pages 592-599