Do Red Raspberries Lower Cholesterol?: Raspberries May Raise Good Cholesterol

Red raspberries not only taste fantastic, but they can be beneficial for cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health. While red raspberries contain no cholesterol, constituents of red raspberries can have positive impacts on blood serum cholesterol levels and the overall health of the circulatory system. Raspberries carry a one-two punch in the world of cholesterol: they are a powerful antioxidant, stopping the oxidation of cholesterol before it can build up on your artery walls and they are loaded with fiber and can essentially soak up cholesterol before it finds a home in your bloodstream.

Fiber in Red Raspberries

cholesterolRed raspberries are high in dietary fiber. Raw red raspberries contain 6.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams. Grams is a measure of weight. To put 100 grams in perspective, consider another measure for this food:

  • 1 cup equals 123 grams.

You can reasonably eat a 100-gram portion of raspberries in a sitting. In fact, if they are premium fresh, ripe raspberries, you might even find yourself eating more than that. Much of the fiber in those red ripe raspberries (27%) is soluble fiber — the type of fiber that can improve your cholesterol levels. [6] While insoluble fiber provides good roughage for averting constipation, soluble fiber has been shown to help with cholesterol in the bloodstream.

Antioxidants in Red Raspberries

cholesterol antioxidantAntioxidants are important in the cholesterol connection because of their ability to stop the oxidation of cholesterol, a key step that turns cholesterol into an artery-clogging substance. Raspberries contain a host of antioxidants and scientists are challenged to find an overall measure for the antioxidant power of food. A common measure these days is the ORAC value. (ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity.) From data compiled by the USDA, note the top ten fruits. Raspberries top the list — technically black raspberries top the list. As we made the graphs for this website, we excluded other raspberries as redundant — they are all very high in antioxidants. Raw red raspberries contain 5,065 micromoles/liter of Trolox equivalents per 100 grams, making 5,065 the total ORAC value of raspberries. While raw black raspberries top the list of top antioxidant fruits, raw red raspberries do rank in the top ten.

Red raspberries are high in two kinds of antioxidants: Vitamin C and polyphenols. One hundred grams of raw red raspberries contain 26.2 milligrams of Vitamin C, which is equivalent to 44% of the recommended daily intake for a person with a 2000 calorie daily diet.

Vitamin C has been shown in research to help the cardiovascular system in two major ways. First, intake of Vitamin C is correlated with lower cardiovascular disease mortality. In addition, for some people (those with high levels of total cholesterol in their bloodstreams and whose tissues are not fully saturated with cholesterol), Vitamin C has been shown to reduce the level of total cholesterol [1].

Polyphenols (and a type of polyphenols called flavonoids) are another antioxidant found in plants. Red raspberries are high in polyphenol content, standing at No. 35 on the list of the top one hundred foods highest in polyphenols [2]. Most of the polyphenols in raspberries are flavonoids.

Polyphenols and flavonoids have been credited with cardiovascular benefits. Flavonoid intake is correlated with less mortality from heart disease [3] and with fewer heart attacks [4].

A human trial that tested effects of the consumption of berries (including raspberry juice) found that moderate berry consumption resulted in lower blood pressure, a higher HDL cholesterol (“good cholesterol”) level, and inhibited platelet function. [5]. Blood platelet aggregation and activation can play a role in cardiovascular disease, including in thrombosis, the pathological development of blood clots.

Macronutrients And Cholesterol In Raspberries

These tables display nutritional data on raw raspberries. Raspberries include a host of nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, and manganese. These are a low-carb fruit that can be a great addition to the diet. To add more red raspberries to the diet, they are wonderful in salads and salsas. Of course, red raspberry vinaigrette dressing is delightful. Red raspberries make a fine topping for vanilla ice cream and you can make yummy ice cream or sherbet from them. Red raspberries make delectable jams and jellies. They are perfect in a wide variety of baked goods. My favorite is red raspberry tart, but I thoroughly enjoy red raspberry cheesecake, Linzer torte with raspberry jam, raspberry pie, and many others. Red raspberries also make for heavenly smoothies.

Component
Amount
% Daily Value*
Calories
52
Protein
1.2 g
2%
Carbohydrate
11.94 g
4%
Fat
.65 g
1%
Fiber
6.5 g
26%
Sugar
4.42 g
Water
85.75 g
Ash
.46
*The daily value is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

Fat Types In Raspberries

Fat Type
Amount
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
.02
0%
Monosaturated Fat
.06 g
*The daily value is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

Vitamins In Raspberries

Vitamin
Amount
% Daily Value*
Vitamin C
26.2 mg
44%
Vitamin E
.87 mg
3%
Vitamin A – IU
33 IU
1%
Vitamin D – IU
0 IU
0%
Thiamin – B1
.03 mg
2%
Riboflavin – B2
.04 mg
2%
Niacin – B3
.6 mg
3%
Vitamin B6
.05 mg
3%
Vitamin B12
0 mcg
0%
Folic Acid
0 mg
Food Folate
21 mg
*The daily value is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

Minerals in Raspberries

Mineral
Amount
% Daily Value*
Calcium
25 mg
3%
Magnesium
22 mg
6%
Iron
.69 mg
4%
Zinc
.42 mg
3%
Sodium
1 mg
0%
Phosphorus
29 mg
3%
Potassium
151 mg
4%
Manganese
.67 mg
34%
Copper
.09 mg
5%
Selenium
.2 mg
0%
*The daily value is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

Cited Works

[1] Simon, JA. “Vitamin C and Cardiovascular Disease: a Review.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 11, no. 2 (April 1992): 107-125

[2] Pérez-Jiménez J., Neveu V., Vos, F., and Scalbert A. “Identification of the 100 Richest Dietary Sources of Polyphenols: an Application of the Phenol-Explorer Database.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 64, no. 3s (2010): S112-S120.

[3] Hertog MG, Feskens EJ, Hollman PC, Katan MB, Kromhout D. “Dietary Antioxidant Flavonoids and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: The Zutphen Elderly Study.” Lancet 342, no. 8878 (23 October 1993): 1007–1011.

[4] Hirvonen T, Pietinen P, Virtanen M, et al. “Intake of Flavonols And Flavones and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Male Smokers.” Epidemiology 12 (2001): 62–67.

[5] Hirvonen T, Pietinen P, Virtanen M, et al. “Favorable Effects of Berry Consumption on Platelet Function, Blood Pressure, and HDL Cholesterol.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 87, no. 2 (February 2008): 323–331.

[6] Glore, S., van Treeck, D., Knehans, A., and Guild M. “Soluble Fiber and Serum Lipids: A Literature Review.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 94, no. 4 (April 1994): 425-436.

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