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Fresh Raspberries Join the Fight Against Cancer

A study conducted by a team of researchers from Clemson University in South Carolina found that raspberries have protective effects against cancer.


Raspberries belong to the rose family and are classified as a bramble fruit like blackberry. Its fragrant scent and sweet taste makes it an appetizing ingredient to pastries, sweets and certain dishes. Though raspberries are available in limited supply and are primarily grown in California from June through October, the red berry can be bought fresh or in preserved form at any supermarket. And aside from its succulent and delicious taste, raspberries are also rich sources of an antioxidant called ellagic acid. This nutrient belongs to the group of phytonutrients called tannins and is considered as responsible for the various health benefits of other berries.

The growing interest of different scientific bodies in raspberry roots from its potential in fighting cancer through its antioxidant content. A preliminary study conducted by a team of researchers from the Clemson University, South Carolina observed that raspberry extracts can effectively kill breast, colon and stomach cancer cells by up to 90 percent.

Raspberries Kill Cancer Cells

A study from CU in South Carolina observed how certain cancer cells react to raspberry extract and found that the substance can effectively destroy breast, colon and stomach cancer cells by 90 percent. For years, raspberry has been thought to be a rich source of antioxidants. The new study aims to determine whether there is more to raspberry than its antioxidant content. With their findings, researchers are saying that other substances are also responsible for the raspberry extract’s efficacy in eliminating cancer cells.

The researchers used a popular US variety of raspberries called Meeker red raspberries in their study. They compared their results with the effects of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, which is a stronger antioxidant. They found that raspberries are eight times more effective in killing cancer cells. Thus, they concluded that other substances in raspberry are helping in destroying cancer cells, and for their next study, the researchers will further investigate on what these substances are.

A related study on the use of raspberry in fighting cancer published in the American Association for Cancer Research found that the anthocyanins from black raspberry can efficiently inhibit the growth of esophageal cancer cells and stimulate them to die through apoptosis. The ellagic acid extracted from raspberry has received greater attention than its other nutrient content. Studies have shown that the nutrient can effectively prevent certain cancers like breast, esophagus, lung, bladder and skin cancer.

Raspberries and its Variety of Health Benefits

With more data providing evidence on the various health benefits of raspberries, people have more reason to have a serving or so on a regular basis. Though nutrients extracted from raspberries are widely available as food supplements, the study that showed that there are other compounds in raspberries that can potentially help in protecting the body from certain cancers suggests eating fresh raspberries instead in order to fully take advantage of everything that this red berry has to offer.

Raspberry is rich in phytonutrients that has anticarcinogenic, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. As a plain antioxidant, raspberry contains ellagic acid that helps prevent the damage caused by free radicals to cells and cell membranes. Raspberry’s flavonoid content is also as well-researched as its ellagic acid content. Studies have found that the flavonoids in raspberry do not only offer antioxidant protection but they can also prevent the growth of certain bacteria and fungi in the body. Candida albicans, for example, is the primary culprit for the development of vaginal infections and a contributor of irritable bowel syndrome.

Compared to other berries, raspberry contains 50 percent more antioxidants than strawberries, 300 percent more than kiwis and 10 times more than what tomatoes can offer. This information is according to a study conducted by researchers from Netherlands and which was published in an issue of the health journal BioFactors. And like the other studies on raspberries, this is primarily due to its high ellagitanin content.

Raspberries are also packed with different vitamins and minerals that help promote overall health. These are excellent sources of vitamin C and manganese which are two of the most powerful antioxidants that help protect the cells from oxidative damage. Raspberry is also rich in copper, potassium, magnesium, niacin, folate, riboflavin, vitamin B complex and dietary fiber. In addition to this, health professionals are recommending raspberry as a natural alternative to processed sugar in sating people’s craving for sweets, especially to those with diabetic conditions.

A study published in an issue of The Archives of Ophthalmology showed that eating raspberries can help promote eye health. Researchers found that eating 3 or more servings of the red berry a day can significantly reduce the risk of developing ARMD or age-related macular degeneration by more than 30 percent; ARMD is the primary cause of vision loss in older people.

Selecting and Storing Your Berries

Raspberries are highly perishable and it can only be stored for up to 2 days even when kept in the fridge. So always make it a point to purchase only what you can consume for the period. This is also the reason why most people opt to buy preserved raspberries or raspberry food supplements. But since raspberry has a lot more to offer when eaten fresh, it is recommended that you add fresh raspberry to your shopping list. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that processed foods like canned goods, baby foods, cereals and bread containing raspberries have almost undetectable amounts of anthocyanins and other antioxidants.

Before storing the fruit in your fridge, make sure to remove any molded fruits and other foods may affect the freshness of your berries. Also, pick out any wilted or spoiled raspberry to prevent it from contaminating the others. Since raspberries are often pre-packed, you will likely find spoiled pieces packed together with the fresh ones. And always keep them inside the fridge since putting them in room temperature or exposing them to sunlight will cause the raspberry to become spoiled even before you get the time to eat them. But if you want to keep them longer, raspberries can last for about a year inside the freezer. But make sure to store them in a single layer.

Sources
naturalnews.com
ezinearticles.com
lifestyle.iloveindia.com
whfoods.com

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