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Raspberries – enjoyed by the handful by young and old alike; these sweet, yet tart, bright red (or sometimes black, golden yellow or purple) fruit are technically not berries at all, at least not based on the botanical definition! In actuality, raspberries are what’s known as an aggregate fruit, which is a fruit that develops from the merger of several ovaries that were separated in a single flower (as opposed to developing from a single ovary like berries). The same goes for its relative the blackberry, but it is distinguishable from its cousin in that the torus (aka its stem) remains with the plant, leaving a hollow core (perfect for raspberry fingers) as opposed to staying with the fruit, as in the case of blackberries. This unique ‘aggregate’ structure is responsible for raspberries being one of the highest sources of dietary fiber among whole foods!
Raspberries (Rubus idaeus) are the edible fruit of a multitude of species in the genus Rubus from the rose family of plants (Rosaceae). Their name derives from raspise, meaning “a sweet-rose-colored wine” or from raspoie, meaning “thicket” and their name may have been influenced by their rough appearance, relating to the Old English rasp or “rough” berry. Indeed, raspberry bushes can be quite thick and vigorous, taking over gardens if left unchecked and are even considered invasive in some areas!
The first records of raspberry date back to Troy in the first century AD, with domestication and cultivation throughout Europe by the Romans in the fourth century, after which they were used for art and medicinal purposes in medieval Europe. There are many hybrids of raspberries including loganberries (purple hybrid of blackberry and raspberry), tayberries (larger hybrid of blackberry and raspberry), and boysenberries (large, red hybrid of raspberry, blackberry, and loganberry). Surprisingly, the world’s biggest producer of raspberries is Russia, though the Pacific Northwest produces plenty to supply those of us in North America! How “berry” wonderful!
Nutrivore Score for Raspberries – 491
Raspberries have a Nutrivore Score of 491, making them a high nutrient-dense food! Plus, they are a low-carb and low-calorie-density food; the calorie count of raspberries is 64 calories per cup!
Per serving, raspberries are a best source (>50% daily value) of polyphenols; an excellent source (20-50% daily value) of dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin C, and vitamin E; and a good source (10-20% daily value) of alpha linolenic acid (ALA) and copper.
Raspberry Nutrition Facts
One serving of raspberries is standardized to 1 cup or about 123 grams (4.3 ounces). For reference, a typical pint of raspberries weighs 312 grams, which is equivalent to 2.5 servings of raspberries.
|Raspberries, raw||Nutrivore Score: 491||Nutrient Density: High|
|Serving Size: 1 cup (123 grams)||Protein: 1.5 grams||Net Carbohydrates: 6.7 grams|
|Calories: 64||Total Fat: 0.8 grams||Dietary Fiber: 8.0 grams|
|Vitamin A||2.5 μg RAE||0% DV|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||39.4 μg||3% DV|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||46.7 μg||4% DV|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.7 mg||5% DV|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)||0.4 mg||8% DV|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||67.7 μg||4% DV|
|Vitamin B7 (Biotin)||2.3 mg||8% DV|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||25.8 μg||6% DV|
|Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)||0.0 μg||0% DV|
|Vitamin C||32.2 mg||36% DV|
|Vitamin D (D2 + D3)||0.0 μg||0% DV|
|Vitamin E||4.2 mg||28% DV|
|Vitamin K||9.6 μg||8% DV|
|Choline||15.1 mg||3% DV|
|Calcium||30.8 mg||2% DV|
|Copper||110.7 μg||12% DV|
|Iron||0.8 mg||5% DV|
|Magnesium||27.1 mg||6% DV|
|Manganese||824.1 μg||36% DV|
|Phosphorus||35.7 mg||3% DV|
|Potassium||185.7 mg||4% DV|
|Selenium||0.2 μg||0% DV|
|Sodium||1.2 mg||0% DV|
|Zinc||0.5 mg||5% DV|
|AMINO ACIDS & PEPTIDES|
Raspberry Nutrition Varies With Processing
The Nutrivore Score of raspberries varies with processing.
|Raspberries, frozen, red, unsweetened||434|
|Raspberries, wild (Northern Plain Indians)||425|
Health Benefits of Raspberry Nutrients
Let’s take a closer look at all of the best and excellent source of nutrients found in a 1-cup serving of raspberries and see how they benefit our health.
Raspberries Provide 635.9 mg of Polyphenols
Raspberries are a fantastic source of polyphenols, providing 635.9 mg of polyphenols per 1-cup serving!
Polyphenols play a huge role in protecting against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative diseases, and other conditions associated with oxidative stress. In fact, a major reason foods like red wine and olive oil (as well as diets rich in both, such as the Mediterranean diet) show up as so beneficial may be due to their high polyphenol content! Along with chronic diseases, supplementing with polyphenols has been shown to protect against infections and reduce the signs of aging. Polyphenols exert their most potent effects by acting as antioxidants—preventing cellular damage by neutralizing hazardous oxygen radicals and improving cellular health as a result (which, in turn, benefits virtually every system in the body). As a result of their antioxidant properties, polyphenols also boost the immune system and protect against both chronic and acute diseases. In addition, polyphenols can help regulate enzyme function, stimulate cell receptors, modulate the functions of inflammatory cells (including T and B lymphocytes, macrophages, platelets, and natural killer cells), alter adhesion molecule expression, affect nerve cells and cardiac muscle cells, and exert antiviral effects. Learn more about polyphenols here.
Raspberries Provide 36% DV Manganese
Raspberries are an excellent source of manganese, providing 36% of the daily value per 1-cup serving!
Manganese is an essential mineral that serves as a cofactor and component of numerous enzymes. Through these roles, it’s involved in carbohydrate metabolism, amino acid synthesis, gluconeogenesis, detoxification, lipid processing, free radical defense, bone and collagen formation, and wound healing. Although the research so far is limited, some evidence suggests that manganese can protect against osteoporosis and diabetes, and may even be involved in seizure disorders. Learn more about manganese here.
Raspberries Provide 36% DV Vitamin C
Raspberries are also an excellent source of vitamin C, providing 36% of the daily value per 1-cup serving!
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that has powerful antioxidant properties (meaning it can help combat oxidative damage from free radicals and reactive oxygen species) and that serves as an enzyme cofactor (meaning it’s needed for enzymes to do their job, for example vitamin C is necessary for collagen synthesis, which is essential for bones, joints, teeth, blood vessels, skin and eyes) and playing important roles in immune system and skin health. Higher intakes of vitamin C are linked to reduced risk of heart disease, some forms of cancer, type 2 diabetes, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and gout. Vitamin C can also help regulate the stress response and reduce anxiety, and there’s preliminary evidence that it may also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Learn more about vitamin C here.
Raspberries Provide 8.0 g of Fiber
Raspberries are a great source of fiber, providing 8.0 g of dietary fiber per 1-cup serving!
Fiber serves as substrate for the trillions of microbes that inhabit our digestive tracts, collectively referred to as the gut microbiome. Through their metabolism of fiber, these resident microbes benefit us in a whole host of ways, including aiding digestion, vitamin production, detoxification, regulation of cholesterol metabolism, providing resistance to pathogens, immune regulation, neurotransmitter regulation, regulation of gene expression, and more! In fact, every human cell is impacted by the activities of our gut microbes. A healthy gut microbial community is essential for our health. And, the converse is also true: An aberrant gut microbiome has been linked to conditions as wide-ranging as cancer, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, depression, neurodegenerative diseases, autism, autoimmune disease, ulcers, IBD, liver disease, gout, PCOS, osteoporosis, systemic infections, allergies, asthma, and more!
Fiber has other benefits, like regulating peristalsis of the intestines (the rhythmic motion of muscles around the intestines that pushes food through the digestive tract), stimulating the release of the suppression of the hunger hormone ghrelin (so we feel more full), and slowing the absorption of simple sugars into the bloodstream to regulate blood sugar levels and avoid the excess production of insulin. Fiber also binds to various substances in the digestive tract (like hormones, bile salts, cholesterol, and toxins) and, depending on the type of fiber, can facilitate either elimination or reabsorption (for the purpose of recycling, which is an important normal function for many substances like bile salts and cholesterol), both of which can be extremely beneficial—if not essential—for human health.
The recommended daily allowance for fiber is 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men. However, there are many studies showing greater benefits from even higher levels of intake. Lear more about fiber here.
Raspberries Provide 28% DV Vitamin E
Raspberries are an excellent source of vitamin E, providing 28% of the daily value per 1-cup serving!
Vitamin E is actually a group of eight different vitamins, though the form alpha-tocopherol is the most biologically important. Its most significant role is as a fat-soluble antioxidant, protecting the lipids in cell membranes from oxidative damage. Its free radical-scavenging abilities make vitamin E helpful for cardiovascular health, cancer protection, neurological health (including slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease), and any situations where oxidative stress increases (such as during pregnancy). There’s even evidence that getting enough vitamin E can reduce the risk of the the common cold! Learn more about vitamin E here.
How Much Raspberries Should We Eat Per Day?
Culinary berries, defined as small, pulpy fruit with lots of little seeds, are not only delicious to eat but are also nutrient-dense superfoods that are “berry, berry” good for us!
Consuming 800 grams of vegetables and fruits daily reduces all-cause mortality by 31% compared to eating less than 40 grams daily. A 2017 systemic review and meta-analysis looked at how all-cause mortality was impacted by varying intakes of 12 different food groups: whole grains and cereals, refined grains and cereals, vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, eggs, dairy products, fish, red meat, processed meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages. This analysis revealed non-linear relationships between how much of a particular food group we eat and how it impacts our health. While the results revealed no upper limit to the benefits of vegetable intake, the sweet spot for fruit intake was 300 grams daily. Intakes of fruit over 400 grams per day were not as beneficial as 300 grams, but the good news is that even intakes of 600 grams of fruits per day was superior to no fruit at all! This sweet spot for fruit intake translates to 2 to 3 servings of fruit daily.
Thus, a good rule of thumb is to aim for at least 500 to 600 grams of vegetables (5 to 8 servings, depending on the vegetable, and as much as you want above that) and about 300 grams of fruit (2 to 3 servings, depending on the fruit) per day. Fruit makes a convenient snack, a healthy dessert, a whimsical addition to salads, and a sophisticated flavoring agent in the form of salsas, jams, and chutneys. A serving is standardized to 1 cup chopped for raw vegetables and fruits (typically translates to 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup once cooked). Learn more in Importance of Vegetables and Fruit
Abundant research has shown that berries (like raspberries) offer a range of health benefits. For instance, eating 100 grams of berries (about 2/3 of a cup) per day on average results in an 8% decrease in all-cause mortality. In studies, when comparing those who ate the most berries versus those who ate the least, researchers showed a 26% decreased risk for type 2 diabetes and a 23% decrease in risk for Parkinson’s disease. Berries have also been shown to help protect against cancer, reduce total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure, while increasing HDL “good” cholesterol.
Just remember, it’s always best to mix up the foods you eat day to day (aiming for a wide variety of different vegetables and fruits throughout the week), and raspberries definitely have a place at the table.
Expand to see all scientific references for this article.
Phenol-Explorer: Red raspberry, raw
Piironen V, Toivo J, Puupponen-Pimia R, Lamp AM. Plant sterols in vegetables, fruits and berries. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 2003. Vol 83(4):330-337. doi:10.1002/jsfa.1316
USDA Food Central Database: Raspberries, raw
Watanabe T, Kioka M, Fukushima A, Morimoto M, Sawamura H. Biotin content table of select foods and biotin intake in Japanese. Int J Anal Bio-Sci. 2014. Vol 2(4):109-125.