RFTH Raspberries


Real Foods that Heal
volume 1, #4
January 27, 2008


What a delightful design of nature: one of our most delicious (and delicate!) fresh fruits is full of cancer fighting properties! Raspberries are at the head of the class for a cancer prevention diet for a couple of reasons. One is the simple fact that a diet generally higher in fresh fruits and vegetables is associated with lower risk of cancer. Evidence has been mounting in research laboratories for the past 20 years about the multitude of ways that fresh fruits decrease risk of cancers of all types. And this is a really delicious way to increase that overall intake of fresh fruit. The second is specific to raspberries along with some other fruits: the presence of high concentrations of a cancer fighting compound called ellagic acid. The presence of ellagic acid helps raspberries prevent cancer in at least 3 ways: one is that it neutralizes (the medical research term is detoxification) chemicals in the body that could cause cancer; it is a potent antioxidant (preventing cellular and DNA damage by oxygen free-radicals); and it has been shown in laboratory studies to actually slow the growth of cancer cells.

The raspberry has been used in European herbal medicine since at least the 1600’s, but it is only in recent years that advances in laboratory phytochemistry have given us the details on its potent anticancer effects. Since the fresh berries have a short harvest season, you can buy bags of frozen berries (avoid berries packed in sugar syrup) and use those as toppings or for baking. To avoid the dangers of pesticide residues, I do recommend buying organic whenever possible. Make this tasty berry a regular part of your healthy diet!

Raspberry yogurt treat


One of the ways to keep blood sugar fairly even instead of swinging widely is to eat small balanced snacks between small balanced meals. Each snack should contain some oils and proteins in addition to a complex carbohydrate; this keeps the glycemic index low. This snack is just what the doctor ordered, with the addition of all the antioxidant power of raspberries.

Take a small serving of lowfat live-culture yogurt (organic dairy or soy, but remember that I do not encourage breast cancer survivors to eat soy), sprinkle a handful of crushed walnuts (or ground flaxseeds if allergic to nuts), a tablespoon or so of granola, a dash of powdered cinnamon, and a generous helping of fresh or frozen organic raspberries over the top; stir together; sweeten in moderation if needed with honey or agave nectar.


To your health,


Robert Pendergrast, MD



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