My Favorite Fruit Fights Cancer, Protects the Heart, and Boosts the Memory
January 11th, 2015 by Holly Cornish
It’s hard to believe with what we know now, but there was a time not long ago when nutritionists advised people to avoid blueberries because they “had no nutritional value.”
Now blueberries are widely considered a superfood. In fact, researchers at the University of Alabama report that eating just one cup per day prevents the type of cell damage linked to cancer. I’m glad to hear that, because I like the darn things so much I’d probably eat them if they were radioactive.
Lucky for me, that’s not the case. Instead, I get to enjoy a tall stack of benefits like these…
How a Jamaican “Fishing Secret”
Makes You Fall Asleep FASTER and
Stay Asleep LONGER…
My name is Dr. Al Sears, M.D. and I made a discovery in Jamaica that could be the most effective way to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Jamaicans use this “fishing secret” as a natural relaxant and stress reliever. And locals throughout the West Indies rely on it for help with stress, tension and occasional sleeplessness.
Ease your worried mind and get the restful sleep you deserve.
Antioxidant miracle – and then some
Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants and flavonoids that help prevent the cellular damage that sets you up to get cancer.
They are rich in flavonoids called anthocyanins… formed from the Greek words antho– (meaning flower) and –cyanin (meaning dark blue). Anthocyanins can actually be red, violet, or blue, depending on pH level. Blueberries also contain phenolic acids.
Anthocyanins are antioxidants that protect the plant from oxidative damage. Inside your cells, they play a similar role. Many studies now show that antioxidants (including anthocyanins) help prevent free-radical damage associated with cancer.
Blueberries are rich in vitamin C, which is important for your immune health. Vitamin C also helps keep your blood vessels firm, offering cancer patients protection against bruising… according to Laura Newton, M.A.Ed., R.D., and associate professor at the University of Alabama.
Blueberries take on radiation and win!
An important 2013 study showed the abject failure of conventional radiation cancer treatments – as well as the real possibility that a compound found in blueberries cancels some of the dangerous effects of radiation.
The researchers made two discoveries:
- Radiating liver cancer cells with “normal” radiation therapy enriched the most malignant cancer stem cell populations. It also increased the cancer cells’ resistance to treatment.i In other words, it was the opposite of a cure for liver cancer. It was beneficial to the worst, most dangerous cancer cells!
- Adding pterostilbene, a stilbenoid found in blueberries and grapes, suppressed those adverse effects of radiation.
The emerging research shows that conventional “treatments” can actually boost and/or create new cancer stem cells – and that certain natural compounds can selectively kill only cancer stem cells… These new discoveries should give great hope to cancer patients that more sensible treatment protocols will at least be considered.
But will the results of these studies finally stop the use of cancer treatments that damage cancer patients in the name of “saving them?” Don’t hold your breath.
However, this research suggests that, at a minimum, pterostilbene should be included as an adjunct or complementary treatment for patients undergoing radiation therapy.
Perhaps the more logical conclusion is that radiotherapy should be entirely ditched and replaced with treatments based on diet, targeted supplements, lifestyle changes, and detoxification therapies. That would minimize cancer proliferation and cancer stem cell formation.
The findings about liver cancer cells align with a 2012 finding that radiation treatment actually makes breast cancer cells more malignant. Researchers found that even when radiation kills half the tumor cells treated, the surviving irradiated tumor cells were 30 times more likely to form tumors than were non-irradiated breast cancer cells.ii
Radiation cuts the total population of cancer cells, creating the false impression that the treatment is working. But it actually boosts the proportion of cells that are highly malignant, often leading to the treatment-induced death of the patient.
That’s why it’s so misleading to talk about shrinking a tumor. It’s often irrelevant. The surviving cells have merely survived a sort of Darwinian struggle that killed off the weaker ones, and cancer bounces back worse than ever.
On the other hand, blueberries
safely kill off cancer cells
Blueberries have already been shown to cause apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the highly virulent triple negative breast cancer cell lines.iii A growing body of research shows that the resveratrol contained in blueberries has the ability to kill dozens of lethal cancers.
In other news about blueberries and cancer, a University of Illinois study found that their free-radical-attacking properties worked against prostate cancer as well. The researchers named blueberries as a potential therapeutic agent for early-stage prostate cancer and prevention.iv
There’s more: Another study found that blueberry’s anthocyanins suppressed the spread of oral cancer KB cells, and also caused apoptosis of oral cancer KB cells.v
Lose fat, keep memory – and more –
Blueberries help with other health concerns too.
Researchers found that pterostilbene reduces the accumulation of body fat, which is related to the risk of developing many other conditions.vi
Blueberries, although considered a low-glycemic food, are higher on the glycemic index than strawberries. Yet blueberries have a positive impact on the blood sugar levels of type 2 diabetes patients. Study participants showed significant improvement in blood sugar regulation over a three-month period, as measured by the A1C test.
There’s exciting new evidence that blueberries can also improve your memory. A recent study of older adults (average age 76) showed that 12 weeks of daily blueberry consumption was enough to improve their scores on two different tests of cognitive function, including memory.
Participants in this study consumed blueberry juice. Three-quarters of a pound of berries was used to make each cup of juice – quite a large amount. Since participants drank 2 to 2 1/2 cups each day, they consumed the equivalent of 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of berries per day.
The study’s authors believe that, besides improving memory, blueberries could also postpone the onset of other cognitive problems often attributed to aging.
Another recent study showed that anthocyanins may reduce the risk of heart disease in women – helping counter plaque buildup and improve cardiovascular health in those who ate three or more servings per week.
Though blueberries are native to American soil, a recent study reported that only 48% of American consumers had purchased any during the previous year. And of those who did, 61% said they did it for the flavor, not for the flavonoids.
I suspect the problem is that blueberries are rather expensive. And if you buy organic, they’re even more expensive. And if you buy fresh imported organic blueberries during the winter, you’re like to experience fatal sticker shock.
I urge making it a priority to eat them anyway. I think you’ll become as addicted as I am to this delicious fruit, and rearrange your budget to handle the expense. Most people I know, including many people on modest incomes, spend huge amounts of money on foolish stuff (my opinion). Blueberries will give you plenty of pleasure per dollar – and better health to boot.
We’ve been conditioned in this country to think we should spend almost nothing on food AND that we should spend almost no time preparing it. These attitudes have been a boon to the processed, packaged food industry which DOES deliver abundant food at a low price.
I’ve now learned that food I make myself from fresh, raw ingredients is more than worth the extra time and money.
Don’t make these mistakes
when you buy…
Fortunately, new evidence indicates that you can freeze blueberries for three to six months without damaging their antioxidants. This means that when they’re in season, you can buy and freeze them for later use. The advantage isn’t huge, because blueberries are shipped up from South America during the fall and winter. But you might save a few bucks by freezing American summer berries.
Don’t wash blueberries before freezing, because washing destroys the protective skins. Put them in your freezer on a jelly roll pan in a single layer. Once frozen, remove them from the pan and place in freezer bags or canning jars. Rinse just before using.
It’s essential to buy organic blueberries (or berries of any kind). Conventionally grown blueberries are on Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list, because they’re heavily sprayed with pesticides and other toxic chemicals.
And the conventional berries have less nutritional value. Here’s the proof. . .
A recent study compared the antioxidant capacity of organic versus non-organic blueberries. The organic ones had significantly higher concentrations of total phenol antioxidants and total anthocyanins than the conventionally grown berries.
In the store, choose blueberries that are firm. If they’re mushy, they’re not very good. Blueberries, like raspberries and strawberries, tend to go moldy fast, and quite often mold is visible through the clear packaging. I always open the container and check for mold. It doesn’t seem to bother the store employees; just be sure the plastic container snaps shut when you close it, otherwise the berries will spill.
It’s not the end of the world if one or two berries are moldy in a container where the berries are otherwise fresh and firm. That’s typical. But if the whole batch has gone soft, I would avoid. Once home, refrigerate the berries and they’ll keep for several days. Left on the kitchen counter, they’ll go moldy practically overnight.
I enjoy my blueberries on oatmeal. Other ideas are to add frozen blueberries to your breakfast shake, add fresh or frozen ones to Greek yogurt, or just pop them in your mouth and enjoy!
But here’s one word of warning…
Blueberries have gained such a great reputation for health and healing that food companies are adding dried berries to many packaged products. Don’t buy into the hype. They are almost always loaded with sugars, high fructose corn syrup, and/or damaging oils – all of which feed cancer and counteract the fruit’s health benefits.
Stick with the real fruit instead.
Lee Euler, Publisher