Blueberries are not only colorful to the eye and tasty on the tongue; they’re a rich source of antioxidants that may offer a variety of health benefits. According to a new study, blueberries may even play a role in preventing cancer in children.
Can blueberries prevent cancer in children?: The study
This study which was published in the journal Antioxidants and Redox Signaling showed that blueberry extract reduced the size of cancerous tumors of the blood vessel walls in mice. These cancerous tumors known as hemangioendotheliomas, abbreviated HE, affect three out of every hundred infants, particularly babies that are born too early. Mice with these tumors given blueberry extract not only had smaller tumors, but had their lifespan doubled, suggesting that some component of the blueberry prevented progression of the cancer. The researchers have even identified two of the pathways by which the blueberry extract seemed to act for preventing cancer in these mice.
Can blueberries prevent other types of cancer?
Although large scale human studies are still needed to confirm these findings, this isn’t the first time that the health benefits of blueberries have been studied for preventing cancer. A variety of studies suggest that blueberries may play a role in preventing cancer in animals and, possibly, humans. Blueberries are a rich source of phytochemicals that are thought to reduce cellular damage and inflammation as well as slow down the development of certain types of cancer. Another recent study that looked at blueberries for preventing cancer at Rutgers University showed that a chemical known as pterostilbene found in blueberries appears to lower the risk of colon cancer in rats.
Should you add blueberries to your diet for preventing cancer?
Although more human research is needed to confirm the findings that blueberries could be helpful for preventing cancer, adding blueberries to your diet are a healthy option that could pay off in a variety of ways. Blueberries are also being investigated for their role in offsetting some of the brain and memory changes associated with aging. They’re also rich in fiber and high in vitamin C. Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant contents of the common fruits and have such a high nutritional density that they’re generally thought of as being a superfruit, like the power fruits, pomegranate and the acai berry.
How to add blueberries to your diet
What’s the best way to add blueberries to your diet for preventing cancer and getting the other potential health benefits? Although you can buy bottled blueberry fruit juice, eating the fresh berries will allow you to benefit from the soluble fiber which can help to lower your risk of heart disease. Whenever possible, buy wild blueberries which are available frozen at some natural food markets. Wild blueberries contain larger amounts of the beneficial phytochemicals than do cultivated ones.
Chances are good that the health benefits of blueberries will continue to be discovered. This is one fruit you’ll want to consider adding to your diet.