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article imageThe superfood of the year is the black raspberry

By Tim Sandle     Jan 5, 2016 in Health
Those looking for this year’s superfood and one high in antioxidants should consider black raspberries, according to new research.
Each year, and sometimes at multiple stages throughout the year, a new ‘super-food’ emerges. This is a descriptor applied to foodstuffs that can deliver near miraculous health benefits. Some of the wilder claims offer certain foods as "cure-alls" for every known disease. Most of these claims do not stand up to evidence-based medicine.
While foods cannot cure immunological diseases, eating healthy can help the body to resist diseases. There are several research papers, for example, which highlight the benefits of consuming foods that are high in antioxidants. It should be noted, however, that not all scientists support the medical benefits of antioxidants, and there are some research papers that suggest too high a dose of antioxidants has negative health effects.
An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, leading to chain reactions that may damage cells. Free radicals have been linked with heart disease, cancer, arthritis, stroke, and respiratory diseases. An example of an antioxidant is vitamin C.
Putting aside the health-benefit discussion, if a consumer is seeking a food rich in antioxidants then one of the foods with the highest levels are black raspberries. This is according to a study undertaken at the University of Agriculture in Krakow, Poland.
Black raspberry is a common name for three species of the genus Rubus. The variant studied was Rubus occidentalis. The black fruit makes the berries look like blackberries, however, the taste is said to be close to the red raspberry. Two liqueurs are based on the fruit — Chambord Liqueur Royale de France and Bokbunja (from South Korea.)
Researchers analysed fruit grown in Central Europe. Here they compared black raspberries (which are not common to supermarkets) with more popular varieties of red raspberries and blackberries. Of the berries examined, it was found that black raspberries have three times the level of antioxidants.
Moreover, the levels of phenolics and anthocyanins were found to be over 1000 percent greater. To add to this, black raspberries contained higher amounts of secondary metabolites. These various chemicals have also been linked to improved health outcomes. Anthocyanin pigments, for example, and associated flavonoids may have the ability to protect against some forms of cancer.
The research is published in the journal Open Chemistry in a paper titled “Antioxidant properties of fruits of raspberry and blackberry grown in central Europe.”
So, watch this space: black raspberries are set to become the ‘super-food’ of 2016, irrespective of the health benefits they deliver in practice.
More about black raspberry, superfood, Superfoods, raspberries, Berry
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