In two new animal studies published in the Journal of Berry Research, scientists find that eating raspberry can help support healthy weight and motor function (strength, balance and coordination).
One-cup of frozen red raspberries has only 80 calories, is an excellent source of vitamin C, and provides nine grams of fiber (more fiber than any other berry).
Like most berries, raspberries are a low-carb food. Raspberries contain phytochemicals, which are biologically active compounds.
Recent animal and cellular studies examine how these compounds may work at the molecular level. The findings suggest that certain compounds may help slow age-related declines.
Aging is the number one risk factor for many chronic diseases. Likewise, obesity is a major risk factor for chronic disease.
These latest animal studies examine two important areas of health where raspberry products may play a role in weight management and also support motor function.
In an animal study conducted by Oregon State University, researchers showed that when added to a high-fat, high-sucrose diet, raspberry products could significantly decrease weight gain associated with a high-fat, high calorie diet.
In this study, 76 male mice were fed with a low-fat diet (10% calories from fat), a high-fat diet (45% calories from fat), or a high-fat diet plus either raspberry juice concentrate, raspberry puree concentrate, raspberry fruit powder, raspberry seed extract, and a combination of raspberry compounds.
Researchers found that the addition of raspberry juice concentrate, raspberry puree concentrate and the combination of raspberry compounds to the high-fat diet strongly reduced weight gain in the high-fat fed mice.
In the case of the high-fat and raspberry juice concentrate diet, weight gain was reduced to a level equivalent to the weight gain of the low-fat fed mice, but all high-fat fed groups consumed the same amount of calories and more energy than the low-fat control group.
The researchers suggest that the intake of a reasonable level of some raspberry food products may influence some of the metabolic consequences of consuming a high-fat, high-calorie diet in the development of obesity in male mice.
In another study, Researchers from the Tufts University tested the effect of a red raspberry-supplemented diet on age-sensitive measures of learning, memory and motor performance in older rats.
In this 10-week study, red raspberry supplementation was found to significantly improve motor skills.
In particular, compared to rats fed a standard well-balanced diet, rats fed a diet supplemented with freeze-dried raspberry extract performed better on tests about motor coordination and balance, as well as tests about muscle tone and strength.
Researchers suggest that these results have important implications for healthy aging. While further research in humans is necessary, animal model studies are helpful in identifying deficits associated with normal aging.
Citation: Luo T, et al. (2016). Development of obesity is reduced in high-fat fed mice fed whole raspberries, raspberry juice concentrate, and a combination of the raspberry phytochemicals ellagic acid and raspberry ketone. Journal of Berry Research. 6: 213-223. DOI: 10.3233/JBR-160135.
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