By Raphael NyarkoteyObu, PhD
Dr. Raphael NyarkoteyObu, the author-conferred Honorary Professorship for his research into Natural urology by Vinnytsia State Pedagogical University, Ukraine
(Yoyi)African velvet tamarind
Berries like strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are high in vitamin C and antioxidants. Antioxidants play an important role in the body as they prevent damage from free radicals, molecules that attack healthy cells and can contribute to cancer risk. Vitamin C may also help ease benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) symptoms by promoting urination and reducing swelling.
So what’s a quick easy way to whip up a healthy vitamin-C rich snack? Dr. Mohr recommends blending a variety of berries and greens into a smoothie with milk and protein powder. “Blueberries, banana, milk, protein powder, peanut butter, and ice is a perfect smoothie with lots of flavor and nutrition but simple to make.”
There’s about 90 milligrams of vitamin C in one cup of strawberries and about 14 mg in one cup of blueberries. Other great sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, cantaloupe, spinach, broccoli, and mangos. For most adult men, 90 milligrams of vitamin C is recommended daily.
The prostate gland is controlled by powerful hormones known as the sex hormones, including testosterone. In the prostate gland, testosterone is converted to another hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). High levels of DHT cause the cells in the prostate to enlarge.
Certain foods and beverages are known to have an impact on prostate health because of their effects on testosterone and other hormones.
Research has found that a diet primarily consisting of meat or dairy products can increase the risk of prostate enlargement and cancer. This is especially true if a person does not incorporate enough vegetables into their diet.
Scientists now agree that one of the best ways to protect against the killer diseases of aging is to consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
IN 2008, Research strongly suggests that a mix of preventative agents found in concentrated black raspberries could more effectively inhibit cancer development than single agents aimed at shutting down a particular gene.
Researchers examined the effect of freeze-dried black raspberries on genes altered by a chemical carcinogen in an animal model of esophageal cancer. The carcinogen affected the activity of 2,200 genes in the animals’ esophagus in only one week. However, 460 of those genes were restored to normal activity in animals that consumed freeze-dried black raspberry powder.
Stomach, prostate, intestine, and breast cancer cells were shown to be inhibited when patients were tested with an array of different berry juices, including raspberry, black currant, white currant, gooseberry, velvet leaf blueberry, low-bush blueberry, and other lesser-known berry types. While some berries had little or no effect on cancer cells, researchers concluded that including berry juices in the diet might prove chemopreventive.
Black raspberries contain many vitamins, minerals, phenols and phytosterols, which are known to individually prevent cancer in animals.
A 2010 research work authored by Madhusoodhanan et al titled “Effect of black raspberry extract in inhibiting NFkappa B dependent radioprotection in human breast cancer cells” published in the journal Nutr Cancer found to slow the growth and even kill breast cancer cells, and help protect against radiation.
A Rainbow of Health Benefits
During a typical mealtime, take a look at your plate. If you’re not seeing a rainbow of color, you may be missing out on some major disease-preventing nutrients. Leading physicians are advising that as many richly colored fruits and vegetables as possible be consumed in order to safeguard our health.
Why all the fuss about color? Because a wealth of scientific studies have demonstrated that the natural pigments that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant hues offer remarkable health benefits. A major class of compounds in this category is the flavonoids. Powerful antioxidants, flavonoids are linked with health benefits that include protection from cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, diabetes, and stroke, to name just a few according to an article published in the Life Extension Magazine
Antioxidants provide health benefits by subduing free radicals, which play a role in the development of many age-related diseases. The antioxidant value of a food can be estimated using a measure called oxygen radical absorbance capacity, or ORAC. Foods with a higher ORAC value possess a higher ability to quench dangerous oxygen free radicals in the test tube. Scientists have found that boosting your daily intake of foods with high ORAC values increases the body’s plasma and tissue antioxidant protection, guarding your body’s tissues against the onslaught of free radicals that can lead to decay and disease.
As always, the solutions to many chronic illnesses are right before our eyes, in the form of natural foods. Even though most people do better eating loads of vegetables, rather than fruits (because of the sugar they contain), berries are packed with disease-fighting properties and clearly have many health benefits to offer.
- Blueberries contain antioxidants that can slow the aging process and reduce cell damage that can lead to cancer. Blueberries not only taste great; they are also an excellent source of phytonutrients, especially the potent antioxidants known as anthocyanins, which give the berries their color. Other phytonutrients in blueberries include caffeic acids, coumaric acids, quercetin, pterostilbene, and resveratrol, among others, and virtually all of them work together to provide both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Blueberries have been shown to help lower cholesterol, support blood vessel health, improve memory, promote eye health, and perhaps even offer some anticancer benefits. But domestic conventionally grown blueberries are a source of pesticides residues as well, so look for organic varieties.
- Cherries are rich in queritrin — a flavonoid that’s a potent anti-cancer agent — and ellagic acid (another potent anti-cancer agent).
- Strawberries contain phytonutrients called phenols that protect your heart, fight cancer and are anti-inflammatory.
- Blackberries contain antioxidants, vitamins C and E, and ellagic acid, all of which may protect against cancer and fight chronic disease.
- Cranberries are rich in polyphenols, a potent antioxidant, and researchers have found that they may inhibit the growth of human breast cancer cells and reduce the risk of gum disease and stomach ulcers.
- The acai berry, a Brazilian berry, contains antioxidants that destroyed cultured human cancer cells. In fact, the berries triggered a self-destruct response in up to 86 percent of leukemia cells tested.
- Pomegranate: A heart-healthy fruit, pomegranate extracts have been shown to help safeguard arterial health. More remarkably, pomegranate juice reduced the presence of arterial plaque in a human study. It has also been shown to reduce blood pressure in humans. In the laboratory, pomegranate has inhibited the growth of aggressive forms of prostate cancer cells. Prostate cancer cells that were injected into mice grew less abundantly if the mice ate a pomegranate extract. In both mice and humans with prostate cancer, consuming pomegranate slowed the rising levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which is a marker of disease progression. Pomegranate has also inhibited growth of colon cancer tumors in both the test tube and in mice and inhibited growth of lung and breast cancer cells in a test tube.
- Black raspberries seem to be particularly potent cancer fighters as well. These fruits are actually different than both red raspberries and blackberries, and are slightly harder to find because there aren’t many cultivators (the majority of black raspberries in the United States are grown in Oregon). Meanwhile, only a small percentage of these berries are sold fresh, which means if you want to enjoy black raspberries you may need to look for them frozen
- Interestingly, while blueberries are high up there in terms of antioxidant content, black raspberries actually have about three times the antioxidant levels of blueberries, according to the Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission. Their coloring is also so incredibly deep that the USDA used black raspberry juice for their meat stamps for a number of years.
Combination is best
Combining raspberries with other species produces a wide variety of other berries. Loganberries are a cross between raspberries and blackberries. Boysenberries are a cross between red raspberries, blackberries, dewberries and loganberries.The nessberry is a cross between a dewberry and raspberry
Fruit is Not for Everyone
Even with all of their antioxidants, large quantities of berries and other fruits are not ideal for everyone. To a large extent, whether or not fruits are good for you depends on several factors including:
- Your current state of health
- Your nutritional type
- The type of fruit
If you are overweight, have diabetes or high blood pressure you are best off avoiding fruits or limiting them to a small handful of berries a day. If you are currently healthy, a small amount of fruit should not be a problem as long as you follow the guidelines of your nutritional type.
For example, if you’re a protein type, fruits are generally not beneficial for you with the exception of coconut, which has a higher fat content that is beneficial for protein types.
On the other hand, carbohydrate types tend to fare well with fruit and can safely consume moderate amounts. This is an important distinction, and all nutritional types should try to eat primarily the specific fruits that are best for their unique biochemistry.
What Other Foods Work to Fight Cancer?
Berries are great superfoods, but they are far from the only ones. Other potent foods to include in your anti-cancer diet include:
- Broccoli and broccoli sprouts
- Garlic and onions
- Green tea
- Turmeric and curry powders
- Red chili peppers
Ideally, eating a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and spices that correspond to your nutritional type will give you phenomenal protection against many cancers and other diseases.
As the researchers in the above study pointed out, even though black raspberries appear very promising in the fight against cancer, they alone are not enough. You need to eat a variety of other nutrient-dense foods that will work synergistically to keep your body disease-free.
And looking at the big picture, diet, though important, is only one facet of cancer prevention as well. This past article has a comprehensive list of how to best keep cancer away with simple lifestyle changes.
The diversity of phytonutrients in raspberries is unequaled in other fruits. Each one plays an important part in keeping the body healthy, but together they pack an even bigger punch. Reducing cancer risk is one advantage,but raspberries can also help slow and even halt the progression of obesity-induced inflammation, diabetes, high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. The wonderful part is that with all these health benefits, you can rest assured that desserts and salads with raspberries can be both delicious and healthy.
Dr. Raphael NyarkoteyObu, RND, PhD, honorary Professor of Natural Urology Research, Vinnytsia State Pedagogical University, Ukraine. Member of the Prostate Cancer Transatlantic Consortium(CaPTC Scientist), University of Florida, National President of Alternative Medical Association of Ghana(AMAG), President of Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine, Tema Community, 7, Post office and RNG Medicine Research Lab, Tema community 18. He is the chief editor and founder of the Ghana Alternative Medicine Journal (GAM J). Dr. Nyarkotey love for prostate cancer started as an MSc Prostate Cancer care student-Sheffield Hallam University, UK. His research interest centered on Naturopathic Urology and a practitioner of Integrative Medicine with multiple awards. He is the formulator and developer of the FDA certified Men’s Formula for Prostate Health & Immune Booster, Women’s Formula for wellness and Nyarkotey Tea for Cardiovascular and General Wellbeing. Enquiries: 0208244716/0541234556
Krikorian R et al. Blueberry supplementation improves memory in older adults. J Agric Food Chem 2010 Apr 14; 58(7): 3996-4000
McCormack D, McFadden D. Pterostilbene and cancer: current review. J Surg Res 2011 Oct 21
Seeram NP et al. Blackberry, black raspberry, blueberry, cranberry, red raspberry, and strawberry extract inhibit growth and stimulate apoptosis of human cancer cells in vitro. J Agric Food Chem 2006 Dec 13; 54(25): 9329-39