Natural Health Tips

Strawberries are Cancer-Fighting and Health-Protective

Strawberries are fragrantly sweet and juicy, and this popular fruit contains a wealth of cancer-fighting, health-protective nutrition.

Strawberries are a member of the rose family and are unique in that they are the only fruit to have their seeds on the outside rather that the inside.

A serving of eight strawberries contains more Vitamin C than an orange. Strawberries are also rich in folate, potassium and fiber. In fact, they contain more insoluble fiber that many other fruits, keeping you fuller for longer. They are second only to plums as the richest fruit in phenolics and antioxidants, being especially high in cancer and heart disease-fighting flavonoids, anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin, catechin and kaempferol.

Studies on the health benefits of strawberries

Cancer

Harvard researchers found strawberries to have protective qualities for a variety of cancers. A study using an extract from strawberry leaves on leukemia cells found significant cancer-killing activity.

Another study found that strawberry extracts significantly inhibited the growth of both colon and breast cancer cells. Organically cultivated strawberries had a significantly higher antiproliferative effect that the conventionally grown due to their higher antioxidant levels.

Strawberries are associated with playing a role in reducing estrogen-driven cancer as they are rich in ellagic acid, which can function as an estrogen blocker. Freeze-dried strawberries inhibited growth of two types of cervical cancer cells, and esophageal cancer tumor growth.

Anti-inflammatory

Strawberries block enzymes (COX-2) responsible for promoting inflammation.

heart health

Eating eight strawberries a day for eight weeks lowered a leading risk factor for heart disease, homocysteine. In a similar study, the same researcher found that those who ate a serving of strawberries a day for four weeks had higher folate levels.

Anti-thrombosis

A study in animals found that strawberries had a powerful antithrombotic effect (the clotting of blood within a blood vessel), by promoting antiplatelet activity.

Memory Decline

A 2006 study found that the antioxidant fisetin, found in strawberries, was associated with improved memory and mental function, and protection from the onset of Alzheimer's disease. This flavonoid was found to trigger the activation of memory formation processes within the brain, and also enabled better memory storage by forming strong connections between neurons.

Enjoy strawberries in fresh juices, smoothies and added to fruit salad, or eaten just on their own.

References

  • Skupien, K., Oszmianski, J., Kostrzewa-Nowak, D., & Tarasiuk, J. (2006, May 18). In vitro antileukaemic activity of extracts from berry plant leaves against sensitive and multidrug resistant HL60 cells. Cancer Lett, 236(2), 282-291.

  • Olsson, M.E., Andersson, C.S., Oredsson, S., Berglund, R.H., & Gustavsson, K.E. (2006, February 22). Antioxidant levels and inhibition of cancer cell proliferation in vitro by extracts from organically and conventionally cultivated strawberries. J Agric Food Chem, 54(4), 1248-1255.

  • Papoutsi Z, et al. Evaluation of estrogenic/anti-estrogenic activity of ellagic acid via the estrogen receptor subtypes ER alpha and ER beta. JAgric Food Chem. 2005, 53:7715-20.

  • Stoner, G.D., Chen, T., Kresty, L.A., Aziz, R.M., Reinemann, T., & Nines, R. (2006). Protection against esophageal cancer in rodents with lyophilized berries: potential mechanisms. Nutr cancer, 54(1), 33-46.

  • Hannum, S.M. (2004). Potential impact of strawberries on human health: a review of the science. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 44(1), 1-17.

  • McDougall, G.J. & Stewart, D. (2005). The inhibitory effects of berry polyphenols on digestive enzymes. Biofactors, 23(4), 189-195.

  • Naemura, A., Mitani, T., Ijiri, Y., Tamura, Y., Yamashita, T., Okimura, M., & Yamamoto, J. (2005, October). Anti-thrombotic effect of strawberries. Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis, 16(7), 501-509.