Delicious and Nutritious Raspberries

Red, purple, or gold – raspberries are always delicious and nutritious! I just ate a handful of perfectly firm, sweet red raspberries. Yum! I love them enough that I’ve decided to try growing my own.


I’m familiar with blackberries, huckleberries, and strawberries. All of them grew wild near our farm. Raspberries did not so this experiment feels like foreign territory.

Research tells me raspberries grow well in zones 5-9. I’m in 8a so the climate should be friendly enough. I’m planting in a raised bed, but chose a variety that can also thrive in a container. It should grow to a height of 2-3 feet and width of 3-4 feet. I’m not sure whether I’ll get fruit this year, but I’ll be excited to have healthy growth this year and fruit the next.

The idea of walking out to the back yard to pick fruits and vegetables appeals to me for many reasons. The first is freshness. This seems especially relevant for raspberries. Because the torus remains on the plant, the fruit is hollow in the center. This makes the berries delicate and easy to damage. Fresh will mean a longer shelf life.

Fresh will also mean more vibrant flavor. Any fruit is best when it can fully ripen in place then be picked and eaten quickly.

Nutrition is also highest in freshly picked fruit. Raspberries are packed with nutrients. One cup contains 1.5 grams of protein and 54% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.

These gems also contain:

  • Manganese: 41% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 12% of the RDI
  • Vitamin E: 5% of the RDI
  • B vitamins: 4–6% of the RDI
  • Iron: 5% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 7% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 4% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 5% of the RDI
  • Copper: 6% of the RDI

And they’re full of fiber – 8 grams per cup or 32% of the recommended daily intake for men and 21% RDI for women.

The goodness doesn’t stop there. Raspberries are high in antioxidants and tannins that may help control blood sugar and prevent arthritis and cancer.

You may not be able to eat enough raspberries to fully prevent a given disease, but including them in your meal plan has many benefits.

Grabbing raspberries off the back porch for breakfast in the summer sounds divine! And I like knowing the berries have been grown without chemical sprays.

And while I prefer eating them right off the plant, raspberries can also be enjoyed in sorbet, cookies, tarts, brownies, coffee cake, and atop yogurt, ice cream or cheesecake.

Don’t hesitate to reward yourself with a sweet, colorful treat! Raspberries are always delicious and nutritious.


Dehydration Can Increase Gastrointestinal Symptoms and Joint Pain

treeDehydration can increase gastrointestinal symptoms and joint pain. Today it’s 97º with a heat index of 105º. I’ve been without power for the past 4 days since a tree took down my electric lines in a storm. The air is back on now, but it still feels hot in my house. Even minor activity like wiping out the refrigerator I had emptied early in the outage causes me to break a sweat…inside…in the air conditioning. I keep drinking water, but I feel like I can’t get ahead.

With the constant heat and humidity, it’s a continual battle here to drink enough water in the summer. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to become dehydrated. And for someone like me who has digestive issues, dehydration can make them worse.

One of the early warning signs of dehydration is pain ranging from heartburn to gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD). If you have Celiac Disease or are gluten intolerant, this pain can be mistaken for a response to an accidental gluten ingestion.

Another indicator is joint pain. The cartilage in your joints is composed mainly of water and, lacking blood vessels, is dependent on water to deliver the nutrients required for maintenance and repair. Dehydration contributes to abrasive damage that happens when cartilage surfaces glide over each other when you bend your arms or knees. Since the inflammation experienced by those of us who suffer from autoimmune disorders often experience joint pain, this too can be mistaken for a problem other than dehydration.

If you feel extra tired or depressed, it can be a reflection of a lack of sufficient hydration. All I wanted to do this afternoon was sleep. I’m certain this was a result of all the hours I’ve spent in extreme heat the past few days without managing to drink as much water as needed. I have functioned through sheer force of will which is absolutely not the healthiest way to function.

When I get too hot, I don’t notice that I feel hungry or thirsty. Sometimes, I have to stop what I’m doing and eat something salty to trick myself into drinking more water.
So, how much water is enough?

Of course there’s no easy answer. It depends on size, weight, environment, and activity level. Some experts recommend between one-half and one ounce of water for each pound you weigh every day. That’s 9.375 eight ounce glasses per day on the low end and 18.75 eight ounce glasses or 2.34 gallons per day on the high end for a 150 lb person. Hardly any of us drink 2.3 gallons of water each day!

If you notice that your urine is dark, you have a headache, you’re overly tired or experience the other symptoms mentioned above, increase your water intake and see if the symptoms improve.

Also keep in mind that many fruits or vegetables contain a significant amount of water and are refreshing when served chilled. Watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, pineapple, raspberries, grapes, cucumbers, zucchini, and spinach are all high in water content. A chilled wedge salad or a cup of gazpacho can fill you up and hydrate you at the same time.

As summer moves toward its peak, we’ll all have plenty of opportunity to be reminded to hydrate. For those of us who struggle with gastrointestinal or joint pain, a little extra water may bring us some unexpected relief.

Bottoms up!