The American Cancer Society lists colorectal cancer as the third highest cause of cancer death in the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistics from 2007 listed more than 140,000 diagnosed cases of colorectal cancer, which resulted in more than 50,000 deaths – affecting men and women almost equally.
The Fighting Power of Black Raspberries
The Comprehensive Cancer Center at Ohio State University recently compiled research that proved the link between antioxidant intake and the prevention and treatment of cancer.
In a comparison between black raspberries, strawberries and blueberries – the black raspberries contained 40% higher antioxidant concentration than strawberries and 11% higher concentration than blueberries.
Black raspberries get their almost-black color from a compound called anthocyanins and are also rich in phytosterols, phenols, calcium, folic acid and vitamins A, C and E – all previously found to be strong cancer fighters individually.
Gary Stoner, Ohio State University professor of public health and co-author of the study published in Nutrition and Cancer, said, “We were surprised by how much difference there was between the antioxidant activity of the raspberries vs. the other fruits.”
Black Raspberries and Cancer Prevention
For two weeks rats were injected with carcinogens known to cause colon tumors and then divided into groups. They were given varying amounts of black raspberries while the control group received none.
Every rat developed the type of colon lesions that often go away on their own in humans. In some cases they do not and – if left untreated – can become malignant.
There was 80% less malignant tumor growth in the rats fed a berry-rich diet compared to the mice that were not given any berries. The more black raspberries the rats had in their diet, the fewer malignant tumors developed.
Stoner explained, “That’s a much higher reduction than I thought we’d see. This suggests that berries bind up a good portion of free radicals, preventing them from causing damage in the body. People need to know that these animals are given whopping doses of a carcinogen. It’s conceivable that a much lower dose would be effective in humans.”
Reversal of Gene Damage
During the study, researchers noted that within the first week more than 2200 genes were affected by the injected carcinogen.
After beginning treatment with black raspberries and cancer, 460 of those damaged genes returned to normal.
Further damage was not only stopped…damage already sustained was reversed!
Stoner stated, “We have clearly shown that berries, which contain a variety of anticancer compounds, have a genome-wide effect on the expression of genes involved in cancer development. This suggests to us that a mixture of preventative agents, which berries provide, may more effectively prevent cancer than a single agent that targets only one or a few genes.”
Black raspberries are costly since they are not widely available to consumers.
Scientists did confirm that freeze-dried varieties are even more effective than fresh – concentrating the antioxidants by as much as ten times!
Regarding the recommendation by the National Cancer Institute to include four to six servings of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet, Stoner clarified, “We’re just suggesting that people make one of those helpings berries.”
The Link Between Blood Sugar and Colorectal Cancer
The National Institutes of Health project called Women’s Health Initiative was the base data used to explore the link between elevated blood sugar and colorectal cancer.
The Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University analyzed the data from 5,000 postmenopausal women who participated in the NIH study. Over twelve years, subjects’ blood sugar and insulin levels were monitored.
When the study concluded, colorectal cancer developed in 81 women who repeatedly tested with high glucose levels.
Analysis determined that those women with the highest levels of glucose were 50% more likely to develop colorectal cancer than those who tested at the lowest levels.
Obesity is another risk factor and may play a role in elevated glucose levels.
Senior epidemiologist at Albert Einstein, Geoffrey Kabat, PhD said, “The next challenge is to find the mechanism by which chronically elevated blood glucose levels may lead to colorectal cancer. It’s possible that elevated glucose levels spur the growth of intestinal polyps, some of which later develop into cancer.”
Lifestyle Choices Matter
Study after study stresses the link between total body health and our lifestyle choices. Eating right, exercising regularly and making our health a priority is the key to preventing cancer, heart disease and many other life-threatening illnesses.
Natural cancer prevention such as black raspberries offer alternatives that feed our body what it needs and protect our cells from degeneration.
A sweet solution, no matter how you look at it.