Strawberry extract can inhibit the spread of breast cancer cells, both in test tubes and in mice, says a study published in Scientific Reports.
"We have shown for the first time that strawberry extract, rich in phenolic compounds, inhibits the proliferation of breast cancer cells in in vitro and in vivo models," said Italian researcher Maurizio Battino.
The in vitro model (using test tubes) used cells from the highly aggressive, invasive A17 tumor cell line. The cells were treated with different concentrations of strawberry extract for periods of 24, 48 and 72 hours. The extract decreased the cells' ability to survive, blocked it from multiplying, and inhibited its ability to migrate throughout the body.
Strawberry extract also reduced the expression of several genes involved in the processes of metastasis, such as Csf1, Mcam, Nr4a3 and Set. At the same time, the extract stimulated expression of the gene Htatip2, which is thought to suppress metastasis to the lymph nodes of breast cancer patients.
Strawberry extract reduced the size of tumors in female mice, and stopped cancer cells from spreading to adjoining tissue.
Strawberries have been found to have many health benefits. Previous studies found that eating 500 grams of strawberries daily (between 10 and 15 strawberries), offered antioxidant benefits and reduced cholesterol levels.
Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies studied mice with Alzheimer's symptoms and found that when they were given fisetin, a type of flavonol that's found in strawberries, they began producing anti-inflammatory molecules, and both memory loss and learning impairments were prevented.
Strawberries are also heart healthy. An 18-year British study of almost 93,600 women found that those who ate the most blueberries and strawberries — three or more servings a week — reduced their risk of a heart attack by a third when compared to women who ate berries once a month or less. Experts believe berries' beneficial effects are due to a specific sub-class of flavonoids called anthocyanins, which help prevent the buildup of plaque in arteries.
When you shop for strawberries, consider buying organic. Strawberries are always near the top of the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" list as one of the types of produce that contains the most pesticide residues.
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