Black Raspberries Slow Cancer by Altering Hundreds of Genes

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September 16, 2008 | 86,649 views

New research strongly suggests that a mix of preventative agents found in concentrated black raspberries could more effectively inhibit cancer development than single agents aimed at shutting down a particular gene.

Researchers examined the effect of freeze-dried black raspberries on genes altered by a chemical carcinogen in an animal model of esophageal cancer. The carcinogen affected the activity of 2,200 genes in the animals’ esophagus in only one week. However, 460 of those genes were restored to normal activity in animals that consumed freeze-dried black raspberry powder.

Black raspberries contain many vitamins, minerals, phenols and phytosterols, which are known to individually prevent cancer in animals. As always, the solutions to many chronic illnesses are right before our eyes, in the form of natural foods. Even though most people do better eating loads of vegetables, rather than fruits (because of the sugar they contain), berries are packed with disease-fighting properties and clearly have many health benefits to offer.

For instance:

• Blueberries contain antioxidants that can slow the aging process and reduce cell damage that can lead to cancer.

• Cherries are rich in queritrin -- a flavonoid that's a potent anti-cancer agent -- and ellagic acid (another potent anti-cancer agent).

• Strawberries contain phytonutrients called phenols that protect your heart, fight cancer and are anti-inflammatory.

• Blackberries contain antioxidants, vitamins C and E, and ellagic acid, all of which may protect against cancer and fight chronic disease.

• Cranberries are rich in polyphenols, a potent antioxidant, and researchers have found that they may inhibit the growth of human breast cancer cells and reduce the risk of gum disease and stomach ulcers.

• The acai berry, a Brazilian berry, contains antioxidants that destroyed cultured human cancer cells. In fact, the berries triggered a self-destruct response in up to 86 percent of leukemia cells tested.

Black raspberries seem to be particularly potent cancer fighters as well. These fruits are actually different than both red raspberries and blackberries, and are slightly harder to find because there aren’t many cultivators (the majority of black raspberries in the United States are grown in Oregon). Meanwhile, only a small percentage of these berries are sold fresh, which means if you want to enjoy black raspberries you may need to look for them frozen.

Interestingly, while blueberries are high up there in terms of antioxidant content, black raspberries actually have about three times the antioxidant levels of blueberries, according to the Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission. Their coloring is also so incredibly deep that the USDA used black raspberry juice for their meat stamps for a number of years.

Fruit is Not for Everyone

Even with all of their antioxidants, large quantities of berries and other fruits are not ideal for everyone. To a large extent, whether or not fruits are good for you depends on several factors including:

• Your current state of health
• Your nutritional type
• The type of fruit

If you are overweight, have diabetes or high blood pressure you are best off avoiding fruits or limiting them to a small handful of berries a day. If you are currently healthy, a small amount of fruit should not be a problem as long as you follow the guidelines of your nutritional type.

For example, if you’re a protein type, fruits are generally not beneficial for you with the exception of coconut, which has a higher fat content that is beneficial for protein types.

On the other hand, carbohydrate types tend to fare well with fruit and can safely consume moderate amounts. This is an important distinction, and all nutritional types should try to eat primarily the specific fruits that are best for their unique biochemistry.

What Other Foods Work to Fight Cancer?

Berries are great superfoods, but they are far from the only ones. Other potent foods to include in your anti-cancer diet include:

Broccoli and broccoli sprouts
Garlic and onions
Green tea 
Turmeric and curry powders
Red chili peppers

Ideally, eating a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and spices that correspond to your nutritional type will give you phenomenal protection against many cancers and other diseases.

As the researchers in the above study pointed out, even though black raspberries appear very promising in the fight against cancer, they alone are not enough. You need to eat a variety of other nutrient-dense foods that will work synergistically to keep your body disease-free.

And looking at the big picture, diet, though important, is only one facet of cancer prevention as well. This past article has a comprehensive list of how to best keep cancer away with simple lifestyle changes.

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