In these days when cancer seems so common, it is hard to trust the food we take. The most delicious is not necessarily the most nutritious, and the sweetest could be the deadliest. Hence, it is necessary to understand these foods, especially their immediate and long-term effects on our bodies.
Many types of cancer are induced by the food we eat. On the other hand, the incidence and worsening of cancer can also be prevented and alleviated by some other kinds of food. An excellent example is the superfruits. The term superfruits refer to fruits “which combines exceptional nutrient richness and antioxidant quality with appealing taste that can stimulate and retain loyalty for consumer products” (Wikipedia). There are many fruits classified as superfruits. Some are very commonly served on our tables, while others are region-specific. Regardless of their origins, these fruits have one common denominator – their unquestionable health benefits.
Antioxidants, vitamins, fibers, and minerals are just some countless nutritional values of superfruits. One of the best characteristics of select superfruits is being anti-cancer. Well, here are ten best anti-cancer superfruits.
Also known as pitaya or pitahaya, this fruit belongs to the cactus species. This is native to Mexico, Central America, and South America, but has been cultivated in plantations in Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, and to many other Asian countries. The fruit has red or yellow skin with red or yellow flesh depending on the variety. The fruit contains tiny black crunchy seeds which are eaten raw along with the flesh.
Dragonfruit is rich in phytoalbumin antioxidants which help carcinogenic free-radical formation in the body. It is also rich in fiber, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins C and B2, as well as its helps excrete metal toxins from the body.
This fruit, which is otherwise known as purple mangosteen, originates from the Sundra Islands and the Moluccas of Indonesia, but has grown very popular in neighboring countries. It belongs to a less widely known plant genus. Its exocarp is soft but thick, and its endocarp, botanically known as aril, is white and edible. The fragrant edible flesh can be described as sweet and tangy.
Mangosteen hass anti-cancer properties and helps cancer prevention. Studies have shown that it is capable of killing cancer cells. This fruit has countless health benefits like ant-ulcer, anti-aging, antiviral, antibiotic, antifungal, anti-depressant, anti-obesity, anti-allergenic, anti-cataract, and many more.
The soursop is a broadleaf flowering evergreen tea native in Central and South America, but is also grown in some areas of Southeast Asia. Other common names for the fruit is guanabana (Spanish), graviola (Portuguese), guyabano (Filipino), Brazilian pawpaw, toge-banreisi, durian benggala, and nangka blanda. It has a long prickly green fruit which can have a mass of up to 2.5 kg or 5.5 lbs. The subacid sweet white pulp is eaten out of hand or, more commonly, used to make fruit drinks, sherbets and such.
Soursop has anti-cancer characteristics and is best for all types of cancer. It is believed to be 10,000 times stronger than chemotherapy. The fruit is also anti-stress, anti-bacterial, antifungal, anti-depressant, and anti-worms.
Avocado or alligator pear refers to the fruit of a tree native to Central Mexico. Botanically, it is a large berry that contains a single seed. The fruit may be pear-shaped, egg-shaped or spherical. Its name is taken from a Nahuatl word for “testicle”.
Avocados contain lutein, an anti-cancer carotenoid. Lutein lowers the risk of prostate cancer in men and protects eyes against fatal diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts. Another cancer-fighting component of avocado is glutathione that can significantly cuts the incidence of oral and pharyngeal cancer. Avocados are also rich in potassium, vitamins, and heart-healthy fats.
Blueberry is a perennial flowering plant under the same family as cranberries and bilberries. Its fruit is a berry 5-16 mm in diameter with a flared crown at its end. When mature, the berry is dark blue in color and has a sweet taste with variable acidity. It is widely distributed in America, Europe and Asia.
Researchers have shown blueberries contain pterostilbene, anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, resveratrol, flavonols, and tannins, which inhibit mechanisms of cancer cell development. Besides this, blueberry can also alleviate the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, prevent urinary tract infections, and reduce blood sugar.
Noni goes by the names great morinda, Indian mulberry, nunaakai (Tamil Nadu, India), dog dumpling (Barbados), mengkudu (Indonesia and Malaysia), Kumudu (Balinese), pace (Javanese), beach mulberry, and cheese fruit. The noni plant thrives throughout the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia and Australasia.
According to recent studies, noni has properties that may be beneficial in preventing cancer. The extract from the tropical plant indicates some anti-cancer properties useful for the immune system. Moreover, noni contains carbohydrates, dietary fibers, niacin, calcium, iron and potassium.
The acai berry is the fruit of the acai palm, a species of palm trees native to Central and South America. It is small and around, about 1 inch in circumference. It is black-purple in color and similar in appearance to grapes. It is basically used as food or beverage.
Laboratory studies have shown that acai berries can kill off cancer cells. Extracts from the berries can induced the death of leukemia cells. Other beneficial contents of acai are its antioxidants (found to be twice than in blueberries), omega fatty acids, protein, vitamins A and C, iron, and fiber.
Goji Berry, also known as wolfberry, belongs to a family of plants that include tomato, eggplant, chili pepper, and tobacco. Its fruit is a bright-orange, ellipsoid berry 1-2 cm deep. The majority of commercially produced goji berries come from China and its surrounding regions.
It has been found out that goji berries contain selenium, a trace mineral that acts an antioxidant which can neutralize free radicals that damage cells and cause cancer. Goji berries are also rich in other nutrients and phytochemicals like amino acids, carotenoids like beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, polysaccharides, antioxidants, calcium, potassium, iron, zinx, and riboflavin.
The pomegranate is a berry and is between a lemon and a grapefruit in size, 5-12 cm in diameter. It has a rounded hexagonal shape and thick reddish skin. Native to Iran, the pomegranate has spread to Asian areas like the Caucasus and the Himalayas in Northern India.
Studies have reported that the fruits contain phytochemicals that can suppress aromatase, an enzyme which converts androgen into estrogen and which is associated with breast cancer. Furthermore, clinical trials have shown the pomegranate extracts can prevent prostate cancer in men.
A grape is a perennial and deciduous woody vine. Its berries can be eaten raw or be made into juice, jam, jelly, wine, raisins, and others. Grapes are found in almost all parts of the world. Grapes contain phytochemicals such as resveratrol which has been positively implicated to inhibit any type of cancer.