Cancer is a global health problem with high mortality rates. Eating a balanced diet that includes foods rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants is vital. Making healthy lifestyle choices, staying active, and maintaining a healthy weight can go a long way in combating your risk for cancer.
Consumption of anti-cancer fruits and vegetables has been widely associated with decreased incidences of chronic diseases, including cancer. One such anti-cancer fruit is berries. For many years, berries have been an integral part of the human diet.
Berries, a wonderful source of vitamin C, have emerged as champions against cancer. Loaded with antioxidants, these bright, flavorful, and sweet super fruits have a long list of promising health benefits. Incorporating incredibly tasty berries into your diet may prevent and reduce the risk of cancer.
Let's discuss in depth about berries:
- What are berries?
- What do berries contain?
- Health benefits of berries
- Which berries help to fight cancer?
- Anti-cancer property of berries
What are berries?
Berries are small, soft, round edible fruits. These fleshy fruits are made from a single flower containing one ovary in which the outer layer of the ovary wall ripens into an edible pericarp. They have a fruity aroma, are sweet or sour in taste, are of various colors (blue, red, or purple), and are commonly used in jams, preserves, and desserts.
What do berries contain?
Berries have a good nutritional profile. They are a rich source of bioactive phytochemicals such as antioxidants, polyphenols, flavonoids, anthocyanins, catechins, ellagic acid, gallic acid, phenolic acids, stilbenes, lignans, tannins, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and dietary fibers.
Health benefits of berries
Extremely delicious and nutritious, these colorful fruits provide a diverse array of impressive health benefits. They improve heart health, reduce skin wrinkling, fight inflammation, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, boost your immune system, improve arterial function, may help lower cholesterol levels, and improve your blood sugar and insulin levels.
Which berries help to fight cancer?
Blueberries: They are highly rich in powerful antioxidants. The cancer-fighting phytochemicals in these anti-caner fruits include resveratrol (also found in the skin of red grapes) and anthocyanosides (one of the most potent antioxidants).
Raspberries: Its dark red color is due to flavonoids. These compounds work with fiber to prevent disease progression and promote health. Its bioactive constituent ellagic acid is being potentially explored for anti-estrogen properties, especially valuable for combating breast cancers.
Notably, one cup of raspberries provides 8g of fiber. To mitigate cancer risk, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommends consuming at least 30g of dietary fiber per day as part of a healthy eating pattern
Strawberries: They are are also good sources of folic acid and antioxidants. They are excellent sources of Vitamin C that have been shown to lower the risk of esophageal cancer. Notably, one cup of strawberries yields 100% of your daily recommendation of Vitamin C. In fact, strawberries are a powerful source of Vitamin C compared to oranges.
Blackberries: Like blueberries, they are vital sources of anthocyanosides. Vitamins and minerals present in blackberries boost your immune system, deactivates free radicals, and mitigates tumor risk.
Mulberries: They contain a high amount of lignins that possess anti-cancer property and also boost immune function.
Anti-cancer property of berries
Most berries contain antioxidants that safeguard your cells from free radical damage. Its bioactive components impart anticancer effects through various complementary and overlapping mechanisms of action such as:
- Inhibition of angiogenesis
- Induction of metabolizing enzymes
- Inactivating carcinogens
- Scavenging free radicals
- Reducing oxidative stress
- Modulation of gene expression and their effects on cell proliferation, apoptosis, and subcellular signaling pathways
- Counteracts, minimizes, and also repair damage resulting from inflammation and oxidative stress
Cyanidin (a type of anthocyanin), found in wild bilberry, raspberry, and cranberry, was found to reduce the activity of cancer-causing genes and boost the activity of cancer-stopping genes. This potential compound raised the production of sirtuin 6 (SIRT6) in cells by an impressive 55-fold. Similarly, it elevated the expression of the enzyme in colorectal cancer cells. Cyanidin minimized the expression of the cancer genes Twist1 and GLUT1 and elevated the expression of the FOXO3 (a tumor suppressor).
Berries may safeguard against cancer of the colon, mouth, esophagus, and breast. A study on 20 colon cancer patients depicted that administration of two ounces (60 grams) of freeze-dried raspberries for 1–9 weeks improved tumor markers in some enrolled subjects, though not all.
A study portrayed that a higher intake of berries was associated with a lower risk of estrogen receptor–breast cancer among postmenopausal women. All types of strawberries (whether high or low in antioxidants) were found to exert considerable protective effects against liver cancer cells in a test-tube study.
In individuals at high risk of developing esophageal cancer, consuming 2 ounces (60 grams) per day of freeze-dried strawberry powder alleviated oxidative stress and inflammatory chemicals.
In hamsters with oral cancer, the administration of freeze-dried strawberries helped minimize tumor formation. The strawberry extract aided the killing of breast cancer cells and suppressed cancer progression in another study.
Your food choices are incredibly important since your diet can affect your risk of developing cancer. Undeniably delicious, berries are among the healthiest anti caner fruits you can consume as they’re low in calories but high in fiber, vitamin C, polyphenols, and antioxidants. Berries have promising anti-cancer activity as consuming berries have been found to have positive associations with lowering cancer risk.
Berries offer powerful antioxidants to combat the growth of tumor cells, and may even yield other health benefits to ease certain treatment-emergent side effects. Filling your diet with berries supply your body with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals throughout your cancer management. If these anti-cancer fruits aren’t a vital part of your daily diet, now is the perfect time to consume more of these berries. By incorporating such nutritious berries in your diet on a regular basis, you can enhance your overall health in a very enjoyable way.