A Diet Rich in Berries Protects Against Cancer, Heart Disease & Alzheimer’s!

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by Matthew Monarch, May, 2015
Proprietor, TheRawFoodWorld.com

In this guest editorial, Matt shares what why fresh, delicious berries are one of the most beneficial foods to eat!

I’m often found traveling around the world giving talks on how to heal from disease with a Raw Food Diet or a Cooked Whole Foods Diet.  Sometimes I end up doing five talks a week, traveling through many states or provinces in a very short period of time.  Many people ask me how on Earth I maintain a 100% Raw Foods Diet while traveling.

In my Feb., 2015 article I wrote about avocados and their benefits.  Often on the road I’ll buy a head of lettuce, avocado, tomatoes and if available, dulse seaweed and sprouts.  I’ll simply take a leaf of lettuce, put pieces of avocado in it, then top it with tomatoes, dulse and sprouts if available.  Then I eat a few rounds of that as my meal.  Sometimes I’ll even use nut butters too as a topping for the lettuce, for example delicious smooth almond butter!

Another thing I love to do that’s even simpler when traveling is to throw berries in a bowl and pour almond butter all over them.  I used to eat peanut butter and jelly as a staple in my diet as a child and this sweet buttery raw berry concoction is my ideal replacement!  It tastes amazing and my wife thinks so too!

So in last month’s article we discussed the benefits of eating avocados and in this article we’ll discuss the many benefits of delicious berries!

Eating berries found to protect against cancer, heart disease, and cognitive decline!

With spring around the corner, most areas of the country get to enjoy fresh berries!  These fresh berries make a great snack, breakfast, fruit salad or even dessert.  This spring and summer you may want to consider increasing the amount of berries you eat on a regular basis.

Berries are one of the most beneficial cancer prevention foods we can eat.  Research shows that berries not only contain a strong antioxidant that prevents cell damage but are also affect genes associated with inflammation and growth of cancer!  Gary Stoner, PhD, professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, has been studying berries potential for cancer prevention for the past two decades.  In studies using rats, he has found that consuming freeze-dried black raspberries or strawberries inhibits esophageal cancer by 30-70 percent and colon cancer by 80 percent.  (1)

Currently, Stoner is assessing the impact of these powders on people who are at high risk for cancer, to assess if the powders slow the growth of precancerous lesions.  In a study with patients diagnosed with a hereditary condition that increases colon cancer risk, black raspberry powder was mixed with water to drink and use as rectal suppositories.  After nine months, the study reported that a 36 percent regression of rectal polyps was reported. (1)

Research from Georgetown University tested the effects of blueberries and black raspberries on estrogen-positive breast tumors.  The found that a six month diet of black raspberries reduced breast tumor volume in rats by 70 percent.  Blueberries were shown to reduce tumor volume by 60 percent. (1)

A large study with 93,600 female participants found that three or more servings of blueberries or strawberries per week can decrease women’s risk of heart attacks by 33 percent!  The study found that more regular consumption is important.  Those who ate berries occasional or once a month did not gain the same results. (2)

Further research reports that eating blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and other berries have positive effects on the brain and prevent age related memory loss.  Researchers point out that longer lifespans are often associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of mental decline.  Regular consumption of berries may prevent the brain from aging in this manner.  These fruits contain high levels of antioxidants that protect the body’s cells from free radical damage.  Berries have also been found to change the way the neurons in the brain communicate.  These changes prevent inflammation in the brain that contributes to neuron damage and improve motor control and cognition.  (3)

Eating berries in their whole form provides numerous health benefits … but be cautious of juices as they contain lots of added sugars!

Blueberries are also associated with protecting against urinary-tract infections, cancer, age related healthy conditions and brain damage from strokes.  They have also been found to reduce the buildup on bad cholesterol.  The European blueberry, better known as bilberry, prevents and even reverses macular degeneration.  (4)

Cranberries are not only useful for urinary tract infections, but also protect against cancer, stroke and heart disease.  They are rich in polyphenols and have been found to inhibit the growth of human breast cancer cells and reduce risk of gum disease and stomach ulcers.  Make sure to drink this juice in its pure form and not as a cocktail juice with added sugars.  (4)

Strawberries are rich in dietary fiber, manganese and contain more Vitamin C than other berries.  Their antioxidants have been found to fight carcinogens and prevent oxidation of bad cholesterol.  (4)

Raspberries are also rich in anthocyanins and phytochemicals that fight cancer.  The fiber found in raspberries has also been found to lower cholesterol as well as protect against esophageal cancer. (4)

Goji berries and acai berries found to improve well-being, gastrointestinal functions and boost immune cells!

The less common goji berry was found to increase feelings of well being and improve gastrointestinal functions.  Participants in this study consumed juice for 14 days and reported increases in their energy levels, improved quality of sleep, mental acuity, feelings of calmness or relaxation, and regularity of gastrointestinal functions.  (5)

The South American berry, acai, has been found to boost immune cells, even if consumed at very low doses.  A 2011 study found that three months of consuming acai decreased pain associated with osteoarthritis.  Another clinical study found that overweight participants who consumed acai pulp for two months lowered their insulin and cholesterol levels. (6)

Sources:

  1. http://www.aicr.org/publications/newsletter/2013-spring-119/berries-seem-to-burst-with-cancer-prevention.html
  2. http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Berries-show-heart-boosting-power-for-women-Harvard-study
  3. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120307145825.htm
  4. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/09/24/berries-health.aspx
  5. http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Goji-berry-juice-improves-energy-happiness-study
  6. http://www.nutritionfacts.org/2013/08/22/the-science-on-acai-berries/

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2 Comments on "A Diet Rich in Berries Protects Against Cancer, Heart Disease & Alzheimer’s!"

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LA Vegan
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what do You think of frozen berries? And are they still considered raw?

Robert Ross
Thanks for your question. In general, frozen fruits and vegetables provide mostly the same nutrients as fresh. Fast frozen fruits like blueberries actually can be be better than fresh because they’re picked at their peak and flash frozen to retain their nutritional value. Fresh strawberries start losing their niutritional value the longer they are in trucks and on the shelf…and must usually be picked actually before they even get ripe. I use frozen fruit all the time for my smoothies. I buy whatever organic fresh fruit that is available locally, but keep a bi9g assortment of frozen in the freezer,… Read more »
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