Numerous studies have shown that at least one third of cancers would be linked to the kinds of food that we habitually eat. According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, our diet plays an important role in developing certain cancers. Data even show that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables divides the risk in half; that’s more effective than any conventional prevention method.
You may ask why blueberry is among the top anticancer foods. Many plants contain molecules that can not only prevent the development of cancerous cells but also slow their progression in individuals who already have the disease. Among twenty fruit, blueberry is ranked first for its powerful antioxidant capacity. Closely follow cranberry, blackberry, raspberry and strawberry.
Although research on the anticancer properties of blueberry is in its infancy, some scientific studies suggest that anthocyanidins (pigments found in certain plant which have amazing health benefits) contained in blueberries also have an important anti-cancer potential which patients and healthy people can greatly benefit from. The anticancer potential of the berries is also explained by its anti-inflammatory action.
Anthocyanidins, as well as other molecules present in blueberry, would slow the progression of cancer by blocking the development of blood vessels feeding the malignant cells. This antiangiogenic process deprives cancer cells of their supply of oxygen and nutrient molecules needed to reproduce, which makes it a powerful anticancer food.
Blueberries are amongst the most commonly consumed berries not only in the United States but also in many other parts of the world. They are rich in phenolic compounds, thus high in antioxidants. According to a review published by the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences, from The Florida State University, on Pubmed, “evidence from in vitro, in vivo and a few clinical studies suggest that blueberries and their active constituents show promise as effective anti-cancer agents, both in the form of functional foods and as nutritional supplements.”
Although more studies are needed, this mini study shows the carcinogenesis of blueberries works by inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory molecules, which is the genesis of the formation of all malignant tumors. The berries also help stop oxidative stress, DNA damage, and cancer cell proliferation, while at the same time increase the natural programmed cell death (apoptosis) which cancerous cells defect. When consider defective apoptosis is the backbone of the occurrence and proliferation of malignant tumors, the work of blueberries in re-establishing it should be greatly considered.
Another study was conducted by the Department of Biochemistry (U38-FCT), Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto, Portugal, to investigate the anticancer properties of an anthocyanin-pyruvic acid adduct extract from blueberry in fighting certain types of cancer such as breast cancer. At the end, the scientists conclude the following:
“An anthocyanin extract from blueberry (extract I) and an anthocyanin-pyruvic acid adduct extract (extract II) were tested on two breast cancer cell lines (MDA-MB-231 and MCF7). Proliferation was assessed by SRB assay and ³H-thymidine incorporation. Caspase-3 activity was determined in the presence of both extracts. In both cell lines, extracts I and II significantly reduced cell proliferation at 250 μg/mL, after 24 h of cell incubation. Caspase-3 activity was not altered by the extracts (250 μg/mL) in either cell line, with the exception of extract II in MCF-7, which increased its activity... Both extracts (250 μg/mL) demonstrated significant antiinvasive potential in both cell lines.”
In other studies it is observed in laboratory that regular consumption of fresh blueberry juice, raspberry and cranberry would slow the growth of human cancer cells mainly in the stomach, prostate, and colon (bowel). Leukemic cells also reduced.
It is clear eating blueberries regularly may not only helps prevent formation of cancer in healthy individuals but also stop or reduce the proliferation of the cancerous cells patients who are already struggling with the condition.
Evidence for anti-cancer properties of blueberries: a mini-review - PMID: 23387969 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
pbrc.edu/training-and-education/pdf/pns/PNS Blueberries .pdf
Blueberries | American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR)
Anthocyanins and pyruvic acid adducts of Blueberry: anticancer properties in breast cancer cell lines: Faria A, Pestana D, Teixeira D, de Freitas V, Mateus N, Calhau C. - PMID: 20564502 [PubMed - indexed for MED LINE]