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Raspberries: Natural Weight-Loss Foods

Raspberries are low in calories and high in fiber, a vital one-two punch in the fight against fat.

This fragile, exquisite, and expensive berry is actually a member of the rose family. But there is nothing delicate about the low-calorie fiber you get from this tiny fruit.

Health Benefits

It's wonderful that a food that tastes so good is so good for you. They are low in fat and calories and have 2 grams of fiber per half cup. Some of the fiber is insoluble, so it helps keep you regular. But much of it is found as pectin, a soluble fiber known to help lower blood cholesterol.

Besides being a good source of vitamin C (an antioxidant beneficial in the fight against cancer), raspberries contain a phytochemical, ellagic acid, believed to have additional anticancer properties.

These melt-in-your-mouth berries also contain anthocyanins, which possess antioxidant and antimicrobial activity, helping to keep certain bacteria and fungi from getting out of hand. Raspberries are a great source of manganese, another player in the antioxidant scene. All in all, berries are fantastic sources of antioxidants and should be a part of your recommended daily two cups of fruit as often as possible.

Selection and Storage

Because they are so fragile, choose and use raspberries with care and eat them right away. Look for berries that are brightly colored with no hulls attached. If the green hulls are still on the berries, they will be tart. Avoid any that look shriveled or have visible mold. They should be plump, firm, well shaped, and evenly colored, with no green. They should be packed in a single-layer container and have a clean, slightly sweet fragrance. When you get them home, don't expect to keep them around for long. It's best to eat them within a day.

Preparation and Serving Tips

Just before serving, take chilled raspberries and rinse under cool water. For a low-fat dessert extraordinaire, top frozen sorbet or a slice of angel food cake with whole, chilled raspberries. Make a raspberry puree to pour generously (it's terrifically low in calories) over fruit salad, a slice of low-fat cake, pancakes, or waffles. If you're celebrating a special occasion, add chilled, ripe raspberries to your champagne. Raspberries also make a colorful, edible garnish.

Frozen raspberries in light syrup can be used to make a delicious frozen dessert. Puree the berries in a food processor first. Then, add skim milk and fresh lemon juice. Process all of the ingredients on low speed. Pour into an airtight container and freeze the mixture. Then process the frozen mixture in the food processor, and refreeze it.

It's easy to enjoy the sweet taste of raspberries, but it's also nice to know you're eating something good for your body that helps with weight loss.

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