Cancer-fighting Superfoods: Berry Good
Berries are good for you. These colorful superfoods provide potent health benefits in a small package. Most are good sources of vitamin C. But did you know that berries also contain compounds that may help prevent cancer? Tart, colorful, tasty fruits including blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, and strawberries, among others, are packed with antioxidant compounds.
They contain four major classes of chemicals that are thought to be beneficial. Some, known as ellagitannins, are more or less unique to berries and pomegranate. Preliminary research suggests that these chemicals combat inflammation and help prevent cancer in several important ways.
More recently, exotic berries from South America and Asia have entered the spotlight. Foods such as açai berry, from the South American açai palm, and goji berries, native to Asia, are loaded with antioxidants and other healthful compounds.
Evidence is mounting that these unique fruit compounds are transformed in the body into chemicals that inhibit cancer formation in the colon, and the prostate gland in men. Berry compounds from various types of flavorful fruits have been shown to help repair DNA damage in cells, and prompt growing cancer cells to commit cellular suicide.
But you don’t earn the “superfood” label by doing just one thing well. Berries do it all. Research shows they’re also good for the heart, and may help prevent degenerative brain conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, too. Fruit in general appears to be protective against certain cancers, including stomach cancer, mouth and throat cancers, and breast cancer.
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