I don’t know about you, but I love something sweet in my diet .
The abundant variations of sweetness found in different types of berries are a wonderful option to include in any diet.
Berries are not only delicious but also contain some powerful cancer-fighting qualities. Strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and blackberries hide a nutritional secret that could help to avoid chronic disease including cancer.
Studies have found that diets marked by high consumption of berries are inhibitory to many forms of cancer, prompting further research into how nature’s bounty might serve as natural, functional medicine.
Christine Sardo, head of the Ohio State University (OSU) College of Medicine’s clinical trial division on berry consumption and cancer prevention, believes berries are a “fruitaceutical” food that can be used in place of conventional pharmaceuticals to target cancer. Her department emphasizes cancer prevention over cancer treatment, and berries, she says, are an excellent option.
During a recent conference on nutrition and health, Sardo spoke of a 2006 study published in the journal Cancer Research that demonstrated anti-cancer benefits from berry consumption. Rats fed a diet composed of 10 percent black raspberries alongside a carcinogenic substance known as N-nitrosomethylbenzylamine were 50 percent less likely to develop oral, esophageal, or colon cancer compared to rats given the same cancer-causing substance without the berries.
The berries, Sardo noted, prevented “the entire spectrum of tumors from being initiated and promoted,” suggesting that regular consumption of this functional food by humans might provide similar benefits.
Fresh Berries Anti Cancer Facts.
Below are some of the nutritional components of fresh berries that can be cancer inhibiting. http://berryhealth.fst.oregonstate.edu/health_healing/fact_sheets
Colour pigments in berries are powerful antioxidants. Blue, purple, and red colour has been associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, urinary tract health, memory function, and healthy aging.
Substances that protect the body by neutralizing free radicals or unstable oxygen molecules, which can damage the cells and are a major cause of disease and aging.
Catechins are flavonols that support the antioxidant defense system.
Catechins found in raspberries and blackberries are very similar to those found in green tea which studies showed may contribute to cancer prevention. The catechins content found in 100 grams is as follows: red raspberries – 83 milligrams and blackberries – 1.4 milligrams.
Fiber helps maintain a healthy GI tract, lowers blood cholesterol, reduces heart disease and may prevent cancer.
A phenolic compound known as a potent anti-carcinogen which has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Scientists feel ellagic acid plays a major role in cancer prevention and tumor reversal. These compounds work in synergy to both inhibit the growth of pre-malignant cancer cells, and trigger the programmed death of cancer cells through apoptosis.
A potent antioxidant also found in black tea and red wine, shown in tests to inhibit cell proliferation and cause cell death in cancer cells.
ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity):
Studies now suggest that consuming fruits and vegetables with a high ORAC value may slow the aging process in both body and brain.
But what are ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) values?
ORAC values are a measure of the antioxidant activity. Antioxidants inhibit oxidation which is known to have a damaging effect on tissues.
A diet of fruits and vegetables that allow you to consume between 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC units per day, will help you maintain an optimal level of antioxidant protection from free radical damage.
The ORAC Rating Table ( http://www.aging-no-more.com/support-files/orac_rating_table.pdf
|Red Bell Pepper||
*ORAC value per 100 grams (approximately 3.5 ounces)
It is clear that the ORAC levels in berries top that of many other fruits and vegetables such as oranges, plums, brussel sprouts, broccoli and spinach.
Blueberries have the highest Antioxidant levels with an ORAC Value of 2400. Right behind blueberries are blackberries with an ORAC Value of 2036; strawberries at 1540 and, raspberries 1220.
Antioxidants are shown to work best when eaten in real food; the presence of fiber and other plant compounds enhance the health benefit.
Phytochemicals are naturally occurring antioxidants in plants that add flavor, color pigments and scent, and they are abundant in all types of fruits and vegetables, particularly berries.
The pigments that give berries their rich red to blue, black and purple colors are a type of phytochemical that has been shown to have significant disease-fighting, cell-protecting antioxidant capacity.
A flavonol that works as both an anti-carcinogen, an antioxidant and protects against cancer and heart disease.
A bioflavonoid that promotes vascular health, helps to prevent cell proliferation associated with cancer and has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties.
The salicylic acid found in blackberries and raspberries prove to have the same protective effect against heart disease as aspirin. A 100-gram serving ( 1 cup) of red raspberries contains around 5 milligrams of salicylic acid.
Berries are a good source of Vitamin C.
- Strawberries: 57 mg/ per 100g serving,
- Blackcurrant: 155 mg/100g serving,
- Redcurrant : 58 mg/100g serving,
- Raspberry:32 mg/100g serving.
Vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant, helps protect against cancers, heart disease and stress. Vitamin C helps in maintaining a healthy immune system. It aids in neutralizing pollutants, is needed for antibody production and acts to increase the absorption of nutrients.
Berries are a solid choice for one’s anti-cancer food arsenal.
I would recommend that 2-3 servings be eaten on a daily basis because of the incredible health benefits.
Just remember to buy “organic “berries especially strawberries. Strawberries top this year’s list of the produce with the highest level of pesticide residue, according to a new report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Nearly all of the (non-organic) strawberry samples (98%) had detectable pesticide residues. Some samples showed residue from 17 different pesticides.