Berries (such as blueberry, cranberry, blackberry, raspberry, and strawberry) are known for their antioxidant power. They contain a number of healthful compounds including vitamins A, C, E and folic acid, selenium, calcium, phytochemicals such as polyphenols. By consumption of berries, you can enjoy diverse health benefits — from preventing cardiovascular disorders, age-related degenerative diseases and inflammation, to improving brain functions and eye health.
How about minimizing cancer risks? Studies from numerous cell culture and animal models, in vitro and in vivo, have demonstrated berries’ anti-cancer properties using berry extracts or constituents. Although certain phytochemicals in berries (i.e. antioxidative potentials) contribute to cancer suppressive action, a novel, key ingredient for berries’ cancer fighting effects is the compound called anthocyanin(s), which also give berries’ natural, vibrant colors.
Anthocyanins play a role in reducing malignant transformation of cells. They exert anti-carcinogenic effects in the following ways:
1. Regulate carcinogenic attack and enhance the removal of carcinogens;
2. Protect DNA integrity via a decreased DNA binding of carcinogens and inhibition of oxidative damage to DNA;
3. Suppress inflammatory processes via alternating cell signaling pathways;
4. Inhibit tumor invasiveness and metastasis via the induction of cell death at various stages of cancer progression.
Sounds promising, doesn’t it? Surely, berry anthocyanins are your supporters in promoting human health and disease prevention. Evidence is still needed for the anti-cancer effect in human studies. While edible berries serve as a source of natural anthocyanin antioxidants, cancer-fighting properties in each group of berries may vary, and you need to acquire more accurate information on health benefits that can be expected from different berry products.
The bottom line:
1. Consume berries regularly. Eat fresh and frozen ones.
2. Mix berries with your cereals, shakes and juices. A combination of various berries has their health benefits maximized over an individual berry.
3. Do take precautions about manufactured and/or concentrated berry powders on the market.
What’s your favorite berry or berries? How do you include berries in your healthy diet?
Photo credit: by love♡janine