Nature has a way of providing most of our nutritional needs by producing a variety of superfoods. 'Superfood' is generally used to refer to a fruit or vegetable that is fully loaded with phytonutrients or plant chemical compounds which provide superior heath benefits.
The nutrients found in superfoods make them natural alternatives to medicines and over-the-counter drugs. The rich and vibrant colours of these superfoods are very good indicators of their high phytonutrient content as these are the same compounds that give superfoods their wonderful colours. The same holds true for raspberries which come in deep red colours and are ranked as one of the top superfoods.
Red raspberries make an excellent food choice for weight watchers because of their low fat, low calorie and zero cholesterol content. A single serving which consists of one cup of raspberries contains substantial amounts of the following phytochemicals and nutrients:
Fibre promotes good digestion, regular bowel movement, and cardiovascular health. It also lowers blood cholesterol and prevents bowel and rectal cancer. When taken before meals, fibre has been proven to slow down the absorption of sugar in the blood stream making it an excellent regulator of blood sugar. While you may obtain fibre from various sources, it is best taken from whole fruits such as raspberries rather than grains like wheat because too much grain fibre may interfere with the absorption of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.
The calcium-phosphorous combination works well to promote bone health by increasing calcium absorption and decreasing calcium secretion in urine. Calcium is also essential for brain function, muscle contractions, hormonal balance, low blood pressure and the prevention of colon cancer. Calcium can also act as a nerve tranquiliser and has a mild sedative effect. On the other hand, Vitamin-K increases bone density.
Magnesium plays an important role in building and repairing cells, tissues and organs in the body. It also reduces tremours, cramps and other muscular problems. Studies also show that magnesium may be helpful in lowering blood pressure and treating depression.
This well known vitamin has antioxidant properties that help fight cancer and premature ageing. Vitamin C leads a list of nutrients that fight disease by boosting the immune system and speeding up the healing of wounds.
Research has discovered that raspberries contain a powerful antioxidant known as ellagic acid. Ellagic acid works by preventing damage to cells and DNA caused by free radicals. More importantly, ellagic acid helps fight cancer by inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells.
Raspberries also contain anthocyanins, a phytonutrient that contains pigments which are responsible for giving raspberries their red colour. Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that also exhibit excellent antimicrobial abilities. As such, anthocyanins may help prevent the overgrowth of bacteria and fungi such as the Candida albican fungi, which are the main culprits behind yeast infections.