Blackberries Fight Cancer Blues

COLUMBUS, Ohio—A new study has affirmed the position of berries as the king of fruits when it comes to anticarcinogenic potential.

Earlier studies highlighted the cancer-fighting potential of blueberries and strawberries, and now blackberries (Rubus occidentalis)—also know as black raspberries—have been found to be equally as potent.

The research, the first of its kind to be carried out on blackberries, was conducted by Gary Stoner, a professor of public health at Ohio State University and a researcher at the university's Comprehensive Cancer Center. He said he was surprised at the level of antioxidant activity in blackberries compared with blueberries and raspberries, which were also tested.

The tests, conducted on rats injected with a colon cancer-causing substance, showed that blackberries yielded 11 per cent more antioxidant activity than blueberries and 40 per cent more than strawberries.

"This suggests berries bind up a good portion of free radicals, preventing them from causing damage in the body," Stoner said.

Stoner stopped short of proclaiming blackberries the king of cancer-fighting fruits, because he had not tested enough of them.

Sue Till, director of public affairs at the Wild Blueberry Association of North America (WBANA), said the association's campaign boasting that wild blueberries possessed the highest antioxidant activity amongst fruits was not in jeopardy because of Stoner's research.

"There are different measures out there, so findings are bound to conflict with each other at some point and Stoner was using cultivated blueberries as opposed to wild blueberries," she said. "Our research shows wild blueberries to be 40 per cent higher in antioxidant activity than regular blueberries."

She added, "There are many fruits and vegetables that are marketing the antioxidant story and I think it is exciting that there is all this research going on and we are finding out more and more about different fruits and vegetables."

Stoner said he had been in contact with WBANA and was planning to test wild blueberries in the near future.

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