There are actually a wide variety of different raspberries, but many people are more familiar with the red variety, than the less common black raspberries found in North America.
Black raspberries can easily be confused with blackberries, but they are different. Blackberries are more shiny, and when you pick the fruit from the stem, black raspberries are hollow, whereas blackberries retain a central core from the plant.
Raspberries contain a generous amount of vitamin C, along with other nutrients such as selenium, phosphorus and dietary fibre. They are packed with antioxidants and a wide range of phytochemicals that are known to help prevent disease.
Freezing, drying or turning raspberries into preserves will reduce a significant proportion of the vitamin C, however the bulk of the antioxidants remain unharmed.
A number of studies have been conducted on raspberries, with particular attention paid to black raspberries, which have greater quantities of cancer-fighting substances. One particular study, observing the effect of raspberry extracts on human liver cancer cells discovered that the more raspberry extract used, the less frequently the cancer cells replicated.
A study on human oesophageal cancer cells discovered that a diet containing black raspberries substantially reduced tumour cell growth.
Hamster studies have shown that black raspberries inhibit the formation of oral tumours.
Certain attention has been paid to the phytochemicals beta-sitosterol and ferulic acid (contained within black raspberries), because in studies it stopped the growth of both premalignant and malignant oral cancer cells.
In the field of diabetes, it has also been discovered that the anthocyanins in raspberries help reduce blood glucose levels after carbohydrate-rich meals. This will help to reduce the damage caused by excess levels of glucose, which causes the ageing of your tissues.
Laboratory studies using mice that were fed high-fat diets with varying quantities of raspberries discovered that greater raspberry consumption helps to prevent fatty livers and actually reduced the level of obesity.
Whilst your current consumption of raspberries may be limited to those contained in fruit yoghurt or preserves, you can purchase freeze-dried or frozen raspberries to add to your favourite desserts, or just to eat as a tasty treat.