08 MAY 2018

7 Berries That Can Help Reduce Risk of Cancer

Contributed by: Chloe Ong Siew Men

Berry good!

Berries are low in calories, high in fibre, and contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. They are also rich in phytochemicals and flavonoids that can help reduce the risk of cancer. Chloe Ong, Senior Dietitian from Parkway Cancer Centre, looks at what berries can do for you.

Raspberry

Health benefit Rich source of vitamin C, iron, manganese and dietary fibre. Also a good source of antioxidants, polyphenols and phytonutrients. Health issue May cause serious allergic reactions in some, such as swelling and redness of mouth, lips and tongue, or gastrointestinal disturbances. Key component Ellagic acid, a natural phytonutrient that is believed to prevent damage to cell membrane and DNA, hence preventing free radicals’ action in the cell. Nutritional analysis (per 100g)

  • Energy 63kcals
  • Carbohydrate 15g
  • Protein 1.5g
  • Fat 1g
  • Dietary fibre 8g
  • Vitamin C 54mg
  • Iron 5mg

 

Blueberry

Health benefit High level of manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fibre. Also rich in antioxidants, anthocyanins and phytonutrients. Eat more if you... Have cardiovascular risks, malignant diseases and age-related diseases. Also if you often get urinary tract infection. Key component Proanthocyanidins that prevent harmful bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract. When bacteria cannot attach, they cannot multiply to cause infection. Nutritional analysis (per 100g)

  • Energy 57kcals
  • Carbohydrate 14.5g
  • Protein 1g
  • Fat 0.3g
  • Dietary fibre 2.4g
  • Vitamin A 54 IU
  • Vitamin C 10mg
  • Manganese 6mg

 

Acai berry

Health benefit Rich in anthocyanins and essential fatty acids. Health issue Do not consume excessively if you have heart valve problems, as there may be possible drug interactions. Key component Plant sterols, naturally-occurring steroid alcohols as phytonutrients in plants. They are believed to help reduce blood cholesterol levels. Nutritional analysis (per 100g)

  • Energy 90kcals
  • Carbohydrate 2g
  • Protein 1g
  • Dietary fibre 3.5g

 

Strawberry

Health benefit Rich source of vitamin C and phytonutrients such as flavonoids. Health issue May cause allergy or anaphylactic reaction. Research suggests that the allergen could be linked to a protein involved in the ripening of the fruit. Key component Phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals called anthocyanins and ellagic acid. Nutritional analysis (per 100g)

  • Energy 40kcals
  • Carbohydrate 8g
  • Protein 1g
  • Fat 0.5g
  • Vitamin C 80mg
  • Dietary fibre 3g

 

Pomegranate

Health benefit The arils or seeds contain vitamin C and phytonutrients. Eat more if you... Have high LDL cholesterol. Pomegranates may also help to keep blood platelets from clumping together. Key component Ellagic acid. Nutritional analysis (per 100g)

  • Energy 83kcals
  • Carbohydrate 18.7g
  • Protein 1.7g
  • Fat 1.2g
  • Dietary fibre 4g
  • Vitamin C 10mg

 

Wolfberry (goji berry)

Health benefit Rich in nutrients, minerals and trace minerals, phytonutrients and carotenoids. Health issue May contain a toxic alkaloid called atropine. The level of atropine varies depending on the source of the berry. Most berries are below the toxic limit. Eat more if you... Have vision disorders such as cataracts, retinopathy and macular degeneration. Key component Typical phytochemicals such as polysaccharides (LBP), betaine, zeaxanthin, physalien, cryptoxanthin, sesquiterpenoids, triterpenes and beta-sitosterol. Nutritional analysis (per 100g)

  • Energy 370kcals
  • Carbohydrate 63g
  • Protein 11g
  • Fat 4g
  • Dietary fibre 9g
  • Calcium 112mg
  • Iron 9mg
  • Zinc 2mg
  • Selenium 50mcg
  • Vitamin C 90mg

 

Cranberry

Health benefit High level of magnesium, vitamin C and dietary fibre. Also a source of polyphenol antioxidants and phytonutrients. Health issue More acidic than most carbonated drinks, which may dissolve tooth enamel over time. Eat more if you... Often get urinary tract infection, or if you have neurogenic bladder (a bladder disease), as cranberries will help deodorise urine in those with urinary incontinence. Key component Proanthocyanidins that inhibit bacterial attachment to the bladder and urethra. Nutritional analysis (per 100g)

  • Energy 46kcals
  • Carbohydrate 4g
  • Protein 0g
  • Fat 0g
  • Dietary fibre 4.6g
  • Magnesium 6mg
  • Vitamin C 13mg
  • Vitamin A 60 IU

 

But remember...

  • As it is difficult to quantify the amount of antioxidant properties, no specific dosage is indicated for the berries to provide maximum benefit.
  • Include a variety of berries in your diet to provide a wide range of nutrients.
  • Consume these berries as natural fresh fruits, frozen, juice, jam, and other food products rather than in supplement/tablet/concentrated form.
  • Most antioxidants and phytonutrients can reduce the risk of chronic inflammation diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases, and of malignant diseases. They can also reduce the effect of ageing. However, it is difficult to quantify the direct relationship between berries and such health benefits.
POSTED IN Nutrition
TAGS cancer diet & nutrition, healthy food & cooking, reduce cancer risk