Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Anti Cancer Power of Strawberries

strawberriesStrawberries are a fragrant, red-coloured, ground-dwelling fruit. Their history dates back over 2,000 years with records showing a variety of breeds as a native in many parts of the world.

In the early eighteenth century a strawberry hybrid was created that took its size from a South American variety and its taste and fragrance from France. This created what it is known today as the common strawberry that is preferred throughout Europe.

The strawberry is often described as a luxury item, enjoyed by royalty. France's King Charles V had over 3000 planted at the Louvre in Paris, King Louis XIII ate them everyday; and both Louis XIII and Louis XIV the latter enjoyed the berries so much that they are recorded to have eaten them to the point of indigestion! It wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century, when railways were built, that more than just the rich could enjoy the fragrant fruit.

Today, the United States, Canada, France, Japan, Italy, Australia and New Zealand are some of the largest commercial producers of strawberries. In California, on the west coast America, they have been grown since the early 1900s. More than 25,000 acres of strawberries are planted there each, since the state produces more than 80 percent of all the strawberries grown in the United States.

The use of strawberries and of the strawberry plant itself for therapeutic purposes dates back as long as they have been eaten. American Indians prepared infusions of strawberry plant leaves as a treatment for stomach pain and gastrointestinal ailments such as diarrhoea. Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus was convinced that strawberries had miraculously healed his severe attack of gout; and the French philosopher Bernard de Fontenelle, who died at the age of 100 attributed the secret of his longevity to strawberries. Strawberries also contain a large amount of antioxidant, anticancer, anti-neurodegenerative, and anti-inflammatory properties, making them, like many other berries, very useful as a natural alternative to western medicine.

Health Benefits of Strawberries

  • Nutrients
    Strawberries are an excellent source of dietary fiber and Vitamins C and K. They are a very good source of manganese, pantothenic acid, vitamin B1, and iodine. They are a good source of folic acid, biotin, and vitamin B6.
  • Glycemic Index (GI)
    In a study to determine the estimated GI of various foods, it was concluded that strawberries have a low GI of 40.
  • Antioxidants
    At a study at the Department of Food Science, at Cornell University, New York it was shown that strawberries contain high levels of antioxidants, which can decrease the risk of chronic disease. They were also shown to significantly reduce liver cancer cells. In addition to their known beneficial effects on cancer and heart disease, the antioxidant qualities of strawberries may also be beneficial in reversing the course of neuronal and behavioural aging.
  • Cancer
    Ellagic acid is present in many red fruits and berries, including raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and cranberries. Studies have shown that strawberry consumption can increase anti-cancer activity on cancer cells of the breast, oesophagus, skin, colon, prostate and pancreas. More specifically, ellagic acid prevents the destruction of P53 gene by cancer cells. Ellagic acid can also bind with cancer causing molecules, thereby making them inactive.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
    Due to their positive effects against anti-neurodegenerative diseases, strawberries are helpful in slowing the onset and reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Heart Health
    Strawberries have also been linked with effecting blood vessels, platelets and lipoproteins positively, which can reduce the risk of coronary heart diseases.
  • Anti Inflammatory
    Strawberry extracts have also been shown to inhibit COX enzymes in vitro, which inhibits the inflammatory process.

Nutrient Values of Strawberries per 100mg

Calories
32kcal
Energy Value
136kj
Total Fat
0.30g
Carbohydrates
7.68g
Sugars
4.89g
Dietary Fiber
2.0g
Protein
0.67g
Sodium
1mg
Zinc
0.14mg
Potassium
153mg
Iron
0.41mg
Magnesium
13mg
Copper
0.048mg
Calcium
16mg
Vitamin C
58.8mg
Vitamin E
0.29mg
Vit. B3 (Niacin)
0.386mg
Vitamin B6
0.047mg
Vit. B1 (Thiamin)
0.024mg
Vit. B2 (Riboflavin)
0.022mg
Moderate amounts of oxalates exist in strawberries and individuals with a history of oxalate forming kidney stones should limit their intake of this fruit.
References:
1. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno.
2. Benders' Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology.
3. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
4. Meyers KJ, Watkins CB, Pritts MP, Liu RH. Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of strawberries. J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Nov 5;51(23):6887-92. PMID: 14582991.
5. Joseph JA, Shukitt-Hale B, Denisova NA, Bielinski D, Martin A, McEwen JJ, Bickford PC. Reversals of age-related declines in neuronal signal transduction, cognitive, and motor behavioral deficits with blueberry, spinach, or strawberry dietary supplementation. J Neurosci. 1999 Sep 15;19(18):8114-21. PMID: 10479711
6. Mutanen M, Pajari AM, Paivarinta E, Misikangas M, Rajakangas J, Marttinen M, Oikarinen S. Berries as chemopreventive dietary constituents--a mechanistic approach with the ApcMin/+ mouse. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17 Suppl 1:123-5. PMID: 18296318.
7. Seeram NP, Adams LS, Zhang Y, Lee R, Sand D, Scheuller HS, Heber D. Blackberry, black raspberry, blueberry, cranberry, red raspberry, and strawberry extracts inhibit growth and stimulate apoptosis of human cancer cells in vitro. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Dec 13;54(25):9329-39. PMID: 17147415.
8. Mazza GJ. Anthocyanins and heart health. Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2007;43(4):369-74. PMID: 18209270.
9. Mink PJ, Scrafford CG, Barraj LM, Harnack L, Hong CP, Nettleton JA, Jacobs DR Jr. Flavonoid intake and cardiovascular disease mortality: a prospective study in postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Mar;85(3):895-909. PMID: 17344514.
10. Sesso HD, Gaziano JM, Jenkins DJ, Buring JE. Strawberry intake, lipids, C-reactive protein, and the risk of cardiovascular disease in women. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Aug;26(4):303-10. PMID: 17906180.
11. Hannum SM. Potential impact of strawberries on human health: a review of the science. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2004;44(1):1-17. PMID: 15077879.

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