Authored by Jon Mercer in Nutrition
Published on 02-07-2009
Everyone already knows that berries are good for you, but recent studies have now proven that people who include lots of fruits and vegetables in their diet have a lower risk of cancer. There is a huge body of research that points to berries as one of the most potent cancer-fighting fruits. According to the New York Times, an Ohio State University laboratory study has shown that including the berries in your daily diet has multiple health benefits including cancer fighting properties that have been proven to reduce the growth of polyps in rodents that were injected with colon cancer cells.
In the November edition of Cancer Prevention Research journal another study showed that black raspberry powder reduced the symptoms for patients with Barrett’s esophagus, a precancerous condition. Black and red raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and elderberries are among the berries being studied by researchers. Blueberries, which have numerous health benefits, don’t appear to have the same cancer-fighting properties as the other berries researchers say.
Berries contain many healthful compounds including vitamins A, C, E, and folic acid. Also found in the berries are selenium, calcium, polyphenols, and compounds called anthocyanins. These compounds are what give the berries their color. While studies may indicate that berries, especially raspberries, are a super healthy food, many may find that it is not practical to eat them on a regular basis. To obtain the benefits of the berries equivalent to that of the rodent study, a human would have to eat about a pound of the berries each day — no small feat indeed.
Still another factor in the study of the berries was climate and growing conditions. It seems that berries grown in certain regions have higher concentrations of the beneficial compounds than others. Frozen berries can also substitute for fresh berries when they are not in season; however they tend to be very expensive and may prove too costly for many people to include them in their diet on a regular basis. For this and other reasons, researchers are trying to identify the key ingredients in the berries that have cancer-fighting properties.
Researchers are proving every day that fruits and vegetables are the healthiest foods for people to eat and, for the average American, it is recommended that they include three to four helpings of berries in their diet each week; not only because of the health benefits, but also because berries are delicious and go well with a variety of foods.