(NaturalHealth365) While we always sensed they were good for us, scientific research is proving that berries are extremely beneficial in helping to prevent cancer. The benefits of strawberries and other berries are many, including their high content of protective antioxidants that shield cells from the damage that can lead to cancer.
Berries also have positive effects upon genes associated with inflammation in the body, reducing it and helping to prevent the growth and spread of cancer.
More than two decades of research show definitive cancer-fighting effects of berries
The Medical College of Wisconsin’s Dr. Gary Stoner, PhD has studied the ways berries help to prevent cancer for over 20 years. He found that diet of freeze-dried strawberries or black raspberries inhibited esophageal cancer by up to 70 percent in rats.
Berries also inhibited colon cancer in these animals by as much as 80 percent. Human patients diagnosed at higher risk for colon cancer had a 36 percent regression of rectal polyps after taking black raspberry powder for nine months.
Black raspberries and blueberries were shown to reduce breast tumor volume in rats by as much as 70 percent after being consumed for six-months.
A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that in addition to strawberries, blueberries and black raspberries, blackberries, cranberries and red raspberries also had anti-cancer benefits, inhibiting cancer growth and stimulating cancer cell apoptosis in vitro. The stronger the berry extract, the more potent it seemed to be in preventing cancer.
Cancer-fighting compounds abundant within berries
Berries are believed to prevent cancer due to their content of polyphenols, which are potent phytochemicals. The two most active types include ellagitannins, a source of ellagic acid, and anthocyanins, the flavonoids that give berries color. They are rich with vitamin C, manganese and fiber. Berries are also loaded with health-boosting phenols like ferulic acid and quercetin.
The ellagic acid in many berries is believed to inhibit estrogen production, which cuts off the “fuel supply” of the tumor. Ellagic acid has been shown to help prevent cancer of the esophagus, bladder, skin, lung and breast.
The benefits of strawberries in particular make them an ideal fruit to add to the diet and help prevent cancer. High in antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, flavonoids, phytonutrients and polyphenols including quercetin and ellagic acid, these berries can help to expel toxins and slow cancer cell growth. Quercetin induces apoptosis, or the programmed self-destruction of cancer cells.
Selecting organic berries key to maximizing their health benefits
It is crucial to seek out organic berries, as non-organic can contain disturbing levels of pesticides and toxins. Organic berries also have higher levels of cancer-fighting ability due to a higher concentration of their key nutrients.
Researchers suggest consuming four to five servings of a variety of different types of berries each week to help prevent cancer. Organic fresh and unsweetened frozen berries are best, but canned berries are another alternative. Even just two ounces of berries per day has been shown to prevent cancer or cause its regression.
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