Many years ago, Hippocrates, also known as the father of medicine, said people should let food be our medicine and medicine be our food. And all these years later, his advice still rings just as true as ever. Food can be medicinal in so many different ways for a multitude of health conditions. Take, for example, berries. They are powerhouses when it comes to their health benefits, including their anti-cancer properties. Even better, they are absolutely delicious.
As far as foods that are healthy, it is important to focus on fruits and vegetables that are brightly colored. Berries definitely fit that description, as there are deep purple, blue, red and fuschia types. Strive to eat a variety of them. That won’t be difficult, because they are so appealing and tasty.
So what specifically makes berries so nutritious? For one thing, they contain a high level of anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that counteract free radicals in the body while reducing oxidative stress and inflammation that can be so prevalent in various types of cancer.
Specific Anti-Cancer Benefits of Certain Berries
Numerous berry types exist, and it is helpful to know which berries provide which benefits. There have actually been many studies done to evaluate just that. Here are a few types of berries and their benefits:
• Raspberry: These fuschia-colored berries are easy to find in a grocery store or even a farmers’ market and contain a great deal of anthocyanins plus a high amount of ellagitannins. Because of this, they are able to decrease colon cancer cells’ invasiveness while prompting the eradication of prostate, breast, oral and cervical cancer cells. Also, ellagic acid is an antioxidant that can help in slowing down the growth of cancer cells.
• Bilberry: You might not be quite as familiar with bilberries, but that does not change how effective they can be at fighting against cancer. They are particularly helpful with certain types of cancer, especially intestinal cancer and breast cancer. If you have not tried bilberries, just know that they are quite similar to blueberries although they are a different size.
• Acai: According to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, acai berries can reduce the growth and reproduction of colon cancer cells by 90 percent.
• Chokeberry: Yet another powerful type of berry, the chokeberry can act on malignant brain cancer cells and even help to eradicate them. So it is worthwhile to consider adding them to an anti-cancer approach.
There are also numerous other types of berries, of course, including strawberries and blueberries. They provide excellent health benefits too.
Beyond antioxidants, berries contain numerous other beneficial constituents. For example, they are great sources of vitamin C, and that can help with preventing esophageal cancer and many other health problems. Plus, berries are rich in fiber, and that can be beneficial when it comes to certain types of cancer like colorectal cancer. Beyond cancer, vitamin C and fiber provide a variety of health benefits for numerous health conditions.
Berries are abundant in other vitamins and minerals too, such as manganese, vitamin K, copper and folate. Also, because berries are high in antioxidants, they can help to reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is involved in many health problems. Berries can also help to balance blood sugar.
Notes on Berry Shopping and Preparation
Because certain berries such as strawberries tend to be quite high in pesticides, it is important that you purchase and eat organic ones. Make sure to wash fresh berries thoroughly in cool water before eating them. If you have trouble finding fresh berries, you can consider buying frozen ones in the grocery store.
Berries are as versatile as they are healthy and delicious. For example, you can freeze them and then use them in smoothies along with a variety of greens like spinach and healthy fats like coconut oil and avocado. Try adding berries to a tossed green salad. Or you can simply wash them and then serve them in a wonderful fruit salad with a meal. It is best to eat them raw for maximum health benefit.
Enjoy the beautiful colors and tasty flavors of berries on your plate while you are letting food be your medicine!