It’s not exactly a secret that eating fruits is good for you. Rich in antioxidants and a variety of other health-boosting nutrients, fruits are essential to a balanced diet and can protect the body from a variety of diseases. In fact, some of them are known to help fight serious conditions such as cancer. A new study suggests that consuming strawberries can protect the body from breast cancer, one of the most common causes of death today.
The woman killer
Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer afflicting both men and women, but the latter more so. For this reason, it also kills more women than other forms of cancer, being second only to lung cancer.
BreastCancer.org says that one in eight women develop invasive breast cancer in one lifetime. While incidence and mortality rates have been consistently decreasing since the years 2000 and 1989 respectively, the organization expects a total of 252,710 cases of invasive breast cancer and 63, 410 cases of non-invasive breast cancer to be diagnosed in 2017 in the U.S. alone.
Contrary to popular belief, breast cancer is not strictly hereditary, although having relatives with the condition may raise your risk of developing it. While the disease can be caused by genetic mutations, its most common risk factors are still age (growing old) and gender (being a woman).
The sweet findings
Researchers from Europe and Latin America found that strawberry extract can inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells. The study was conducted on mice using lab-grown cancer cells inoculated to facilitate the growth of tumors.
The mice were then given a special diet, around 15% of which consisted of strawberries. After five weeks of monitoring, the researchers found that the cancer showed no sign of progressing. In many of the subjects, the tumors even shrank in terms of both volume and weight.
Marche Polytechnic University’s Dr. Maurizio Battino, co-author of the paper, attributed the results to the phenolic compounds found in large quantities in strawberries.
“These results are without a doubt valid for understanding potential effects of strawberries on breast cancer and the molecular mechanisms involved, but they must be complemented with clinical and epidemiological studies to verify whether humans experience the same positive effects as we have observed in mice,” he explained.
The study used highly aggressive tumor cells which were then treated with Alba strawberry extract within varying periods. The study showed that strawberries reduced the expression of genes involved in the growth and development of cancer cells. Simultaneously, the extract stimulated the expression of a gene believed to suppress the spread of breast cancer.
As stated by Dr. Battino, it is too early to extrapolate the study’s results to human beings. Should the findings be supported by further research, you’d have more reasons to enjoy strawberries for its health benefits, as previous studies have found that consuming 10 to 15 strawberries daily can help reduce blood cholesterol levels, leading to healthy arteries and a reduced risk of contracting heart disease.
It seems that strawberries have a lot going for it in terms of being a super fruit.