Many people believe the fight against cancer begins at diagnosis. Actually, it starts well before that with exercise, healthy lifestyle choices and diet. Proper nutrition is a preventative anti-cancer foundation. The benefits are complex, but the steps to getting those benefits are deliciously simple.
One example is berries. The phytochemicals responsible for berries’ beautiful colors are also the same compounds that provide pre-emptive, cancer-fighting benefits such as stimulating our immune systems to be stronger, blocking carcinogens and helping to prevent DNA damage. Additionally, berries are a good source of vitamin C, which bolsters the immune system and connective tissues in the body even further. These powerful little cancer fighters can be found in the produce isle of your closest supermarket or produce stand: strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries and more—all just a short walk or car ride away!
Cherries are a fantastic start. They’re not around all year, but they are fiber-rich and contain vitamin C. They promote heart health and reduce the risk of cancer. Strawberries are another household favorite. They’re packed with folate, a B vitamin that works to ensure healthy cell regeneration. Blueberries can reinforce the collagen matrix of cells whose breakdown can cause cancer, ulcers, hemorrhoids, glaucoma and cataracts.
All this fruit ought to give your intestines a workout, but luckily, cranberries and raspberries are there to help. Cranberries are known for their cleansing abilities. They can promote gastrointestinal and oral health, as well as help to lower your low-density lipoproteins, and increase your high-density lipoproteins (the “healthy” cholesterol). As for raspberries, they are high in manganese, vitamin C, riboflavin, folate, niacin and dietary fiber —all important nutrients your body needs for good health.
Across the board, berries offer you a satisfying and strong base in the nutritional battle against cancer. But it is not simply what you eat; it is also how and when you eat them.
Berries, for instance, are richest in nutrients during their peak seasons. Try to visit farmer’s markets, as fresh berries are the most healthful and vitamin packed. Choose fresh, plump berries, and avoid any that are leaky, broken, or discolored. Wash them right before eating or preparing them for a dish. And if fresh berries aren’t available, remember that frozen and dried berries are also great options.
Whether in a sauce, a smoothie, a fruit salad or just a snack, berries are just what the doctor ordered, and a sweet, tasty way to promote good health.
Try these healthy recipes for your berry best health: