Antioxidants in berries may help reduce cancer. Scientists know certain foods contain compounds that help protect against some types of cancers. How these phytochemicals, or naturally occurring plant compounds, produce anti-carcinogenic effects is still somewhat of a mystery.
Dr. Gary Stoner, of Ohio State Universities Comprehensive Cancer Center, has a passion for understanding how certain foods, particularly berries that can help fight cancer. In their recent study, published in The Journal of Cancer Research, Stoner and his colleagues found that rats fed a diet high in black raspberries showed significant decreases in the rate and progression of esophageal cancer. Rats fed the 10% diet of raspberries had a 66% decrease in the number of tumors by week thirty-five compared to the control group fed a regular diet without raspberries. These results are simply amazing.
Ellagic acid, a naturally occurring plant antioxidant is found in high quantities in darker pigmented berries, especially Black Raspberries, Wild Blackberries, and Huckleberries. Berries containing high levels of ellagic acid, were therefore great candidates for researchers to study food-based cancer prevention approaches. Numerous in depth studies conducted by Stoners team show ellagic acid to inhibit esophageal and colon cancer.
According to the researchers, the anti-carcinogenic effect of the berries could not be explained by the presence of ellagic acid alone. Stoner strongly believes that multiple components found in the berries contribute to the anti-carcinogenic effects found in the study. This supports the idea that consuming whole berries rather than adding isolated nutrients of berries to your diet remains the most effective way to experience berries' natural beneficial properties.
Stoner and colleagues suggest that one of those four to six helping of fruit and vegetables recommended by the National Cancer Institute include berries of some sort. In fact, they suggest that 1 to 2 cups of berries each day may be the ideal amount to prevent certain kinds of cancer, especially those directly affecting the digestive system. Daily smoothies are an easy way to achieve this recommendation and help thwart off cancer.
Reference: “Black Raspberries Show Multiple Defenses in Thwarting Cancer”. https://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/canberry.htm