There is no more exciting time in the world of blueberry research. The nutritional potential of blueberries, particularly wild blueberries, is high and building as we find out more and more about the natural disease preventing chemicals sheathed by that dark blue skin.
Now, a new study conducted by researchers at the City of Hope in Los Angeles provides an encouraging connection between the nutritional benefits of this powerhouse fruit to breast cancer prevention, isolating a specific link to a very aggressive form of the disease.
Watch Blueberries: A Triple Threat Against Triple-Negative Breast Cancers from the City of Hope and hear firsthand what the researchers have to say about this important study.
The study builds upon an infrastructure of previous research into the effect of phytochemicals, naturally occurring substances that are highly concentrated in blueberries and are present in other fruits and vegetables. Phytochemicals neutralize free radicals and help prevent cell damage, which prevents diseases of aging and types of cancer.
This promising study reports on the effect of blueberries on a type of breast cancer referred to as triple-negative. Triple-negative breast cancer is difficult to treat and has a high mortality rate compared to other types of breast cancers.
The study was conducted by researchers Shiuan Chen, Ph.D., and Lynn Adams, Ph.D and will be published in the October 2011 issue of The Journal Of Nutrition. In terms of the connection between triple-negative breast cancer and the effect of blueberries, the report includes the following outcomes:
- inhibited proliferation of triple negative cells
- increased death rate of bad cells
- inhibited metastatic potential, or migration of cells
- inhibited tumor growth
The details of the results of the study can be found at The Lempert Report.
We know that blueberries contain phytochemicals, and according to co-researcher Dr. Shiuan Chen, we already have the evidence that blueberries can help to suppress the proliferation and migration of cancer cells. Still outstanding is actually defining what the active chemicals are that act on these cancer cells. But the results of this initial study remain very exciting. Because the study was conducted with blueberry powder fed to mice, it must, of course, be replicated in humans, but one encouraging factor was the achievable amount of blueberry intake involved. It is common to hear of studies involving amounts of food that would be impossible to consume. Here, the dose required to achieve results was equivalent to two cups of fresh blueberries per day, something reasonable for consumption by humans.
Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women during their lives. Anticipating more definitive research into this important cancer, particularly into this very aggressive form, is very exciting. There are few effective drugs for triple-negative breast cancer, and lowering mortality rates would have an enormous impact on the population with the disease and for those who are at risk. But there’s no need to wait to start a disease-fighting regimen: there is overwhelming agreement in the scientific community that efforts to lower the risk of breast cancer involve eating blueberries and a variety of fruits and vegetables, according to co-researcher Dr. Lynn Adams. To get variety in your diet, use the rainbow as your guide. The different colors of fruits and vegetables provide diverse forms of phytochemicals, which appear to act in synergy with one another to prevent disease. Blueberries, specifically wild blueberries, which have a higher ORAC score than cultivated blueberries, are the best way to integrate the blue-purple color of the spectrum.
The fact that foods which could provide anti-cancer benefits are readily available is a valuable message for consumers. We are lucky that this convenient, delicious fruit is available frozen in grocery stores all year, providing all the nutrition of fresh. Start getting your two cups per day. You’ll be doing something good for your body and making strides toward disease prevention.
A lot is happening in the world of nutrition research! Find out more about the exciting new research into the health advantages of wild blueberries, and read the latest news about how blueberries can reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome.