Food FYI - Raspberries

It's Mother's Day this weekend.  And I'm celebrating all week long here.  On Friday I gave you some ideas for gifts in case you needed a little inspiration.  Today, we're talking raspberries.

When I was a child, we spent a few years living in my Great Grandma Mair's house in Logan, Utah.  Her house was situated on a corner lot, with two of her daughters living on either side of the house.  The three houses shared backyards, most of which was gardened with fruits and vegetables.  I loved to sneak into the garden and have a little snack.  But my Aunt Evelyn's raspberries were my favorite.  I would always sneak a few on my way to school.

Northern Utah is known for their raspberries.  Another favorite childhood memory is going to Bear Lake for raspberry shakes from La Beau's.  Bear Lake was the place of choice for our family reunions.  We'd spend all day playing on the beach, riding in the boat or on wave runners, swimming, barbecuing.  But we always made time to head over to La Beau's for a yummy raspberry shake, made with raspberries grown in Northern Utah.

So what is so wonderful about raspberries, I mean other than the obvious sweet, tart flavor?  Raspberries are rich in Vitamin C, manganese, and dietary fiber.  New research showed that raspberries help improve management of obesity. Although this research is in its early stages, scientists now know that metabolism in our fat cells can be increased by phytonutrients found in raspberries, especially rheosmin (also called raspberry ketone). 

Anti-cancer benefits of raspberries have long been attributed to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. Studies involving breast, cervical, colon, esophageal, and prostate cancers, raspberry phytonutrients have been shown to play an important role in lowering oxidative stress, reducing inflammation, and thereby altering the development or reproduction of cancer cells. But new research in this area has shown that the anti-cancer benefits of raspberries may extend beyond their basic antioxidant and anti-inflammatory aspects. Phytonutrients in raspberries may also be able to change the signals that are sent to potential or existing cancer cells. In the case of existing cancer cells, phytonutrients like ellagitannins in raspberries may be able to decrease cancer cell numbers by sending signals that encourage the cancer cells to being a cycle of programmed cell death (apoptosis). In the case of potentially but not yet cancerous cells, phytonutrients in raspberries may be able to trigger signals that encourage the non-cancerous cells to remain non-cancerous. (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=39)

Isn't that amazing?!  So, implement a handful of raspberries into your morning smoothie.  Toss some on a bowl of cereal or yogurt.  Or add them to your nightly ice cream ritual (come on, I know most people are closet night time ice cream eaters).  And I am super grateful for the women in my life who introduced me to this amazing berry.  

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