Season of the Cancer-Fighting Superfruit: Strawberries - NFCR

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Strawberry season

Ranking as one of the most popular fruits, strawberries are more than just a sweet treat. Appropriately nicknamed “Queen of Fruits”, these berries are packed with immune-boosting Vitamin C, dietary fiber, and powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals and protect against inflammation and disease. In fact, strawberries are loaded with nutrients that many diets often lack, including folate, potassium, iron, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus. With National Strawberry Picking Day approaching on the 20th of May, there is no better time to embrace the amazing benefits of this super fruit.

While it may be no secret that strawberries are rich with antioxidants, few people are educated about the cancer fighting properties of this fruit. Over the past several years, there has been dozens of researchers focused solely on the potential for strawberries to influence genes that govern cancer development. For example, like many other fruits and vegetables packed with fiber, strawberries are likely to decrease the risk of colorectal cancer. The nutrients found in strawberries, specifically the vitamin C, folate, and flavonoids, fight free radicals ultimately creating a strong line of defense against cancer and tumor growth.

Current Areas of Research

Due to the amazing cancer fighting properties in strawberries, there are many ongoing studies to explore more ways in which strawberries protect against cancer. Researchers are specifically studying the cancer-related reactions of anthocyanins and phenolic acids. Anthocyanins, a flavonoid found in naturally red foods, influence cell signaling in ways that increase antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and carcinogen-deactivating enzymes. These amazing responses result in inhibiting the growth and spread of cancer cells, as well as activating signaling that leads to the self-destruction of such abnormal cells.

Similarly, phenolic acids are yielding promising cancer fighting properties. Phenolic acids increase healthy cells’ antioxidant and anti-inflammatory defenses against mutations that could lead to cancer. Recently, researchers have begun exploring other affects phenolic acids may have within the body including improving glucose metabolism and decreasing insulin resistance while altering the gut microbiota. These outstanding measures would ultimately mean that the nutrients in strawberries help create a bodily environment less likely to support cancer.

Adding Strawberries to Your Diet

Though strawberries are a decadent accompaniment to many delicious desserts, it is easy to reap the cancer fighting properties of this fruit while keeping a healthy and balanced diet. Fresh-picked strawberries are tasty and easy to eat but can also be added to any salad for a fresh, sweet, summery-feel. Are you looking for a sweet and spicy breakfast that can be whipped up in minutes? If so, try the strawberry ginger smoothie bowl for a low calorie, sugar-free, and nutrient-rich start to any day.

Strawberry Ginger Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients

  • One ripe banana
  • 1 cup of strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup almond milk, unsweetened

Toppings*

  • 1 kiwi
  • 2-3 strawberries
  • ½ banana
  • 1 tablespoon ground walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds
  • 1 teaspoon goji berries
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • A few cocoa nibs

*  Don’t have all toppings on hand? Get creative and use your favorite fruits and add-ins!

Instructions

  1. Peel the banana and place it on baking paper on a plate. Wash the strawberries and dry them with paper towels. Slice them and place them on the plate with the banana. Freeze for at least four hours. (Hint – do this in bulk to save time on breakfast all week!)
  2. Combine frozen banana, frozen strawberries, and almond milk in a blender. Puree until completely smooth – the mixture will be thick. Add ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla and blend until combined.
  3. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and top with the toppings of your choosing.

 

Find more Cancer-Fighting Foods here.