Cancer-Fighting Berries

Cancer-Fighting Berries
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Do organic strawberries block human cancer cell growth in a petri dish more than conventional berries?

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Admittedly, this ranking of foods simply by antioxidant level is an oversimplification. As reviewed recently in the Annals of the NY Academy of Sciences: “From Beans to Berries and Beyond: Teamwork between Plant Chemicals for Protection of Optimal Health.” Not only may phytonutrients work together; many have healthful properties beyond just their antioxidant power. For example, berries have antiproliferative effects on cancer cells—they can slow down cancer growth. These are the cervical cancer cells that killed this woman, Henrietta Lacks, 58 years ago, and they’re still growing, still multiplying, nearly six decades later. And adding an extract of blueberries to her cancer cells doesn’t seem to matter much. The cancer cells are still steaming away at about 100% growth.

But look what these other fruits can do. Raspberries cut the growth in half, and strawberries blocked cancer growth by almost 75%. And the higher the strawberry dose, the more the cancer is inhibited. But which works better, conventional strawberries or organic strawberries? At every single concentration, and in every single variety, organic beat out conventional. Remember, lower growth is better. And this was for both human colon cancer cells, and human breast cancer cells.

We don’t have to necessarily eat the berries themselves for their benefits; we can eat the liver, eyes, or brains of berry-fed pigs. But, I’d stick with the berries.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

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Admittedly, this ranking of foods simply by antioxidant level is an oversimplification. As reviewed recently in the Annals of the NY Academy of Sciences: “From Beans to Berries and Beyond: Teamwork between Plant Chemicals for Protection of Optimal Health.” Not only may phytonutrients work together; many have healthful properties beyond just their antioxidant power. For example, berries have antiproliferative effects on cancer cells—they can slow down cancer growth. These are the cervical cancer cells that killed this woman, Henrietta Lacks, 58 years ago, and they’re still growing, still multiplying, nearly six decades later. And adding an extract of blueberries to her cancer cells doesn’t seem to matter much. The cancer cells are still steaming away at about 100% growth.

But look what these other fruits can do. Raspberries cut the growth in half, and strawberries blocked cancer growth by almost 75%. And the higher the strawberry dose, the more the cancer is inhibited. But which works better, conventional strawberries or organic strawberries? At every single concentration, and in every single variety, organic beat out conventional. Remember, lower growth is better. And this was for both human colon cancer cells, and human breast cancer cells.

We don’t have to necessarily eat the berries themselves for their benefits; we can eat the liver, eyes, or brains of berry-fed pigs. But, I’d stick with the berries.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

More on berries and cancer prevention:
Black Raspberries versus Oral Cancer
Best Berries
Strawberries versus Esophageal Cancer
Anti-Angiogenesis: Cutting Off Tumor Supply Lines

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Breast Cancer and DietHow Chemically Contaminated Are We? and Strawberries Can Reverse Cancer Progression.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

15 responses to “Cancer-Fighting Berries

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  1. How much of this positive effects actually occurs inside humans? These are extracts applied directly to cancer cells, no? I’ve read that for example, anthocyanins don’t make it that far in our bodies (whether or not these are what gives the anti-cancer effect).

  2. At what point in your career did you choose medical research over comedy? (or maybe the jury is still out on that?) Always enjoyable. No, I don’t want to eat all those nasty parts of a pig. If the choice is between berries and ANYTHING, berries wins everytime. They are so delicious!

  3. I love your blogs and information you send out. Very trusting site…
    I am curious about a product called Juice Plus+, headquartered in Memphis area . It has a nutrition facts label and are not vitamins. 25 whole raw vine ripe fruits and vegetables concentrated in capsule form. These bridge the gap between what people actually eat and what we should eat. Non gmo, gluten free, dairy free, kosher. What is your expert thoughts
    about this product?

  4. Dr Greger,

    Thanks for your comments on berries. Quoting Dr. Otto Warburg, Nobel Prize winner 1934, stating that high fructose consumption stimulates cancer growth, everyone should no more that grams of fruit per day or aboutz4z
    strawberries. Could you comment on that line of reasoning, pls. Your
    comments would help all

    1. Bruce: Lots of people like to use the Environmental Work Group’s (EWG) “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” as guides on which foods to focus on for organic.
      http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list.php

      Other people point out that EWG’s data is best used in conjunction with your own eating levels of the foods. For example, a food in the middle of the EWG list may be in the middle, but if it makes up a large portion of your diet, then maybe you should eat that food as organic. A personal example: Apples always seem to be at or near the top of contaminated lists. And I eat a lot of apples. Hence, I work hard to eat only organic apples.

      If someone has or has had cancer, I would personally encourage them to eat as much organic as possible. The following statistic shows a very low impact of conventional food on cancer. But if it were me and I actually had cancer, I would want to minimize risks as much as possible, even low ones when it is easy enough to do:

      “A new study calculated that if half the U.S. population ate just one more serving of conventional fruits and vegetables, 20,000 cases of cancer could be prevented. At the same time the added pesticide consumption could cause up to 10 extra cancer cases. So by eating conventional produce we may get a tiny bump in cancer risk, but that’s more than compensated by the dramatic drop in risk that accompanies whole food plant consumption. Even if all we had to eat was the most contaminated produce the benefits would far outweigh any risks.”
      from: http://nutritionfacts.org/2013/06/25/apple-peels-turn-on-anticancer-genes/

      Does that help?

      1. Thank you very much Thea, that puts it all into perspective.
        I have been eating 5 out of the top 7 in the EWG list daily, so I think I’d better use organic versions of them for a start!

        1. Bruce: Good point. And great find. Thanks for sharing. It was interesting to me and I’m thinking will help others who read this thread too. Take care.

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