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Cancer-fighting Superfoods: Berry Good

Mar. 20, 2014|761 views


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. 

Heber D. Multitargeted therapy of cancer by ellagitannins. Cancer Lett. 2008 Oct 8;269(2):262-8. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2008.03.043. Epub 2008 May 12.

Johnson SA1, Arjmandi BH. Evidence for anti-cancer properties of blueberries: a mini-review. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2013 Oct;13(8):1142-8

Nile SH1, Park SW2. Edible berries: bioactive components and their effect on human health. Nutrition. 2014 Feb;30(2):134-44. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2013.04.007. Epub 2013 Sep 4.

Seeram NP. Berry fruits for cancer prevention: current status and future prospects. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Feb 13;56(3):630-5. doi: 10.1021/jf072504n. Epub 2008 Jan 23.

Tags:  health tips, antioxidant, chemicals beware, cancer risks