When it comes to fruits, it is hard to compete with the nutrient composition of berries. Not only are they great-tasting, but according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, there are many cancer-fighting nutrients that can be found in all types of berries including, Vitamin A, fiber, ellagic acid, folate, and Vitamin C. Research shows that foods high in vitamin C appear to protect against cancer of the esophagus, while foods containing dietary fiber seem to decrease colorectal cancer risk.
Since emerging evidence proves diet influences the cancer process before it begins, it is crucial that you discover which foods can make a difference between preventing cancer, or accelerating the spread of cancer.
Why Berries Are So Important To Cancer Prevention
The main reason berries are so powerful against cancer is because they contain an abundance of phytochemicals, such as antioxidants and flavonoids (anthocyanins). Phytochemicals are naturally occurring plant chemicals (phyto means plant in Greek). They provide plants with color, odor and flavor. Once we eat them, however, research shows they can influence the chemical processes inside our bodies in positive ways. Watch the video below for more information about the importance of phytochemicals in the diet.
Antioxidants and flavonoids are considered by scientists and doctors to be cancer-fighting agents. The National Cancer Institute states that antioxidants protect cells from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. And several laboratory studies show antioxidants may slow or prevent the formation of cancer.
Anthocyanins (flavonoids) are plentiful in plant foods, providing the bright red-orange to blue-violet colors of many fruits and vegetables. Plants produce anthocyanins as a protective mechanism against environmental stressors, such as ultraviolet light, cold temperatures, and drought. This production of anthocyanins in roots, stems, and especially leaf tissues is believed to provide us with resistance against these environmental hazards. These compounds are most abundant in berries (e.g. black currants, elderberries, blueberries, strawberries) and their juices, and in red and purple grapes, red wine, sweet cherries, eggplants, black plums, blood oranges, and red cabbage.
Delicious Berries As Powerful Cancer-Fighters
Scientists have now discovered that certain foods and berries can help prevent cancer and/or trigger natural cell death against cancer cells. All berries, particularly strawberries and raspberries, contain high amounts of specialized nutrients and powerful antioxidants that create apoptosis (pronounced a-pop-toe-ses). Apoptosis, often called “cellular suicide,” is a natural process that creates the fine balance between cell death and cell renewal. It’s a crucial system used by the body to get rid of cells that are abnormal, mutated, or no longer functioning properly.
Cancer cells alter and grow in a way that avoids the self-destruction caused by apoptosis. Traditional medical treatments for cancer such as radiation, drug therapy, and chemotherapy can’t tell the difference between healthy cells and mutated cancerous cells – so all fast growing cells are destroyed. Whereas apoptosis, which is performed by the body with the assistance of phytochemicals (or antioxidants), only targets cancerous cells.
Findings from laboratory studies have shown that phytochemicals have the potential to, 1) stimulate the immune system, 2) block substances we eat, drink and breathe from becoming carcinogens, 3) reduce the kind of inflammation that makes cancer growth more likely, 4) prevent DNA damage and help with DNA repair, 5) reduce the kind of oxidative damage to cells that can spark cancer, 6) slow the growth rate of cancer cells, 7) trigger damaged cells to commit suicide before they can reproduce, and 8) help to regulate hormones.
One known phytochemical contained in berries is ellagic acid. Berries are rich in ellagic acid. In laboratory studies, this phytochemical has shown the ability to prevent cancers of the skin, bladder, lung, esophagus and breast. Research suggests that ellagic acid seems to utilize several different cancer-fighting methods at once: it acts as an antioxidant, it helps the body deactivate specific carcinogens, and it helps slow the reproduction of cancer cells.
Researchers also studied the extracts of six popular berries (blackberries, black raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, red raspberries, and strawberries) for the prevention of oral, breast, colon, and prostate cancer cell growth. They discovered that black raspberry and strawberry extracts had the most effective apoptosis-inducing effects.
Types of Berries
Protect Yourself From Cancer
Some people don’t eat fruits for whatever reason. If that’s you, try getting the benefits of cancer-fighting berries in the form of breakfast meals, juices, smoothies and shakes.
Live your life without the threat of cancer. There’s a world of healthy cancer-preventive foods out there. You can use spices, fruits, vegetables and more. Fruits, such as berries are a great way to jazz up your normal or plant-based diet that can help you get to – and stay at– a healthy weight.
To get the beneficial nutrients found in berries, don’t expect pills, powders or supplements to do the trick. You’ve got to eat the real thing! There is a unique combination of health promoting chemicals in all plant foods that a pill can never replace. So to protect yourself against cancer, the best line of defense starts with antioxidants that must come from a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Why not enjoy a bowl of delicious berries right now?
1.American Institute For Cancer Research. aicr.org/foods that-fight-cancer/foodsthatfightcancer_berries.html?gclid=CIGj3oe049QCFdAW0wodomkDUg
2. Elderberry: Natural Medicine for Colds, Flus, Allergies & Mor.Draxe.com/elderberry/
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