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      Not just skin-deep: New research says chemicals that give berries their brilliant pigments may hold the key to treating cancer
      08/22/2020 / By Leslie Locklear / Comments
      Not just skin-deep: New research says chemicals that give berries their brilliant pigments may hold the key to treating cancer

      To say that nothing comes close to berries when it comes to health-supporting properties is an understatement since these superfruits have some of the highest levels of active plant compounds.

      Best known for their ability to support good heart health, new research has found that berries may have another health-promoting trick up their sleeves: the ability to help the body fight off cancer.

      According to a new study by researchers from the U.S. and Finland, this ability?likely stems from the?naturally occurring pigments found in berries, which are known as anthocyanidins.

      These pigments have been observed to effectively increase the?activity of the sirtuin 6 enzyme (SIRT6) in cancer cells — a discovery that could open up new avenues for potential cancer treatment.

      Sirtuins are a family of enzymes that affect cellular health?mainly through the regulation of cellular homeostasis or balance. Sirtuins are also believed to play a key role in determining cellular responses to a variety of stresses, such as oxidative or DNA-damaging stress.

      Aging, however, causes changes in sirtuin function — changes that contribute to the development of various diseases.

      “The most interesting results of our study relate to cyanidin, which is an anthocyanidin found abundantly in wild bilberry, blackcurrant and lingonberry,” said Minna Rahnasto-Rilla, the lead author of the study.

      Rahnasto-Rilla and her team found that cyanidin increased SIRT6 levels in human colorectal cancer cells while decreasing the expression of?cancer-related genes like?Twist1 and GLUT1. They also reported that the compound increased the expression of the FoXO3 gene ?— a known tumor suppressor ?— in the colorectal cancer cells.

      According to the researchers, their findings suggest that anthocyanidins?can promote the activation of SIRT6, which helps stop the progression of cancer.?They also noted that their study can?pave the way for the development of new drugs that regulate SIRT6 function.

      What are anthocyanidins?

      Anthocyanidins are water-soluble plant pigments that are responsible for the colors red, purple and blue in certain fruits and vegetables, such as berries, purple and red grapes, purple sweet potatoes, black and purple carrots, blood oranges, cherries, red onions, plums and pomegranates.

      Long linked to several health benefits, anthocyanidins are classified as flavonoids, which are a subgroup of an even larger group of naturally occurring compounds known as polyphenols.

      According to experts, much of the health-promoting properties?of anthocyanidins are linked to their nature as potent antioxidants. This has led to some anthocyanidin-rich fruits and vegetables?becoming mainstays in folk, herbal and integrative medicine.

      In herbal medicine, anthocyanidin sources have long been used to treat and prevent a number of conditions which?affect blood vessel health and respiratory function. Recent studies also?say?that anthocyanidins can help treat, if not fend off,?serious health problems, such as certain types of cancer.

      What other health benefits do?anthocyanidins offer?

      Scientifically proven to be powerful phytonutrients, anthocyanidins offer a number of?health benefits. Here are some?of the conditions anthocyanidins can help prevent, according to science:

      • Cardiovascular disease
      • High blood pressure (hypertension)
      • The hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
      • Impaired immune function
      • Diabetes
      • Certain types of cancer
      • Oxidative damage due to free radicals in the environment
      • Neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
      • Poor cognitive function, memory impairment and loss of focus
      • Fatigue
      • Physical exhaustion
      • Vision loss
      • Obesity

      Despite their potency, however, anthocyanidin-rich foods?should not be treated as silver bullets that can quash?your health problems in an instant.

      Instead, treat them and other functional foods as?important tools?on?your journey toward good overall health. To maximize their benefits, combine them with regular exercise and healthy lifestyle changes.

      Mixed berry smoothie recipe

      Berries and other anthocyanidin-rich foods are easy to incorporate into?a healthy?diet. Want a tasty and sweet breakfast? Add blueberries to your favorite pancake batter recipe! What about a healthy dessert? Layer some pomegranates, mixed organic berries and some blood orange segments for a tasty, organic?yogurt parfait. Craving a healthy snack? Roast some purple sweet potatoes with some spices!

      Smoothies like this mixed berry recipe are the easiest to make. Just chuck your chosen ingredients into a food processor and blitz them up!

      Ingredients:

      • 1 ? Cups organic coconut milk
      • 1 Ripe, organic banana, sliced and frozen
      • 1 ? Cups frozen mixed berries
      • ? Cup vanilla Greek-style vegan yogurt
      • Organic Manuka honey or organic maple syrup, to taste
      • Optional: Fresh organic berries and mint sprigs for garnish

      Directions:

      1. Place the coconut milk, banana, berries and vegan yogurt in a food processor and blend until smooth and well-incorporated.
      2. If the smoothie seems too thick, add more liquid to adjust.
      3. Taste and add sweeteners, if desired.
      4. Pour into two glasses and garnish with fresh berries and mint sprigs.
      5. Serve and enjoy.

      Packed to near overflowing with health-supporting nutrients and beneficial plant compounds, such as cancer-fighting anthocyanidins, berries are some of the?best functional foods you can add to your daily diet for effective disease prevention.

      Sources:

      ScienceDaily.com

      Nature.com

      JCS.Biologists.org

      Link.Springer.com

      NDTV.com

      NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov

      TAndFOnline.com

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      100% Fresh Food News, Right at Your Fingertips!
      Find out everything you need to know about clean and healthy eating when you sign up for our FREE email newsletter. Receive the latest news on all the top superfoods, recipes, natural remedies, diets, food tips, and more!
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