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Originally published September 3 2015

Eating cranberries could help defeat cancer

by Jennifer Lea Reynolds

(NaturalNews) According to the American Cancer Society, more than 93,000 new cases of colon cancer and more than 39,500 new cases of rectal cancer have been estimated for 2015 in the U.S. In fact, they say that one in 20 Americans will likely develop colon cancer at one point in their lifetime. In the United Kingdom, bowel cancer kills approximately 16,200 people annually.

While the statistics are concerning, recent research offers hope; cranberries have been noted as having bowel cancer-fighting properties, making the fruit and its extracts a wise choice to help fend off the potential of developing bowel cancer. It is thought that cranberries' levels of polyphenols are largely responsible for this incredible health benefit as they work to keep inflammation at bay.

The study, which was conducted by Catherine Neto, Ph.D, and colleagues from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, discovered that in laboratory dishes, chemicals in cranberry extracts selectively killed colon tumor cells. To further pursue this matter, her team collaborated with Hang Xiao, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and created a model using mice that had colon cancer.

Cranberry extract linked to diminished inflammation, reduction of tumors by half

In the study, their improvements to three powdered cranberry extracts - a whole fruit powder, an extract with just the cranberry polyphenols, and another containing only the fruit's non-polyphenols - were assessed. After 20 weeks, Neto noted that compared to mice that didn't have any cranberry extract mixed into their food, those consuming the whole cranberry extract had half as many tumors. Additionally, the consumption of whole cranberry extract appeared to diminish their inflammation markers.

The amount of extracts used were approximately similar to one cup of cranberries daily.

"Cranberry extracts may also afford protection toward other cancers," says Neto, "but it seems reasonable to look at colon cancer. Cranberry constituents and metabolites should be bioavailable to the colon as digestion proceeds."

Their findings were presented at the 250th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Boston in August.

"We've identified several compounds in cranberry extracts over the years that seemed promising, but we've always wanted to look at what happens with the compounds in an animal model of cancer," says Neto. "Basically, what we found was pretty encouraging."

Less red meat, more fruits and vegetables also important to keep colorectal cancer at bay

Dietary habits that have been found to help prevent or reduce bowel cancers include avoiding red, salted, smoked, processed or cured meats. Therefore, experts suggest refraining from eating sausage, hot dogs and bacon.

With increasing news about the less-than-stellar treatment of the animals used to obtain these foods, it's probably a good idea to refrain from eating such meat anyway. At the very least, you should consider grass-fed, organic options that involve more humane animal practices. Many animals raised for their meat experience everything from excessive crowding and the use of antibiotics to abuse and living conditions in which they stand directly in their own feces and urine due to improper flooring and drainage.

Binge drinking has also been associated with an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer; two to three drinks daily lead to a 21 percent higher risk of colorectal cancer compared to occasional drinkers. Those who have four alcoholic drinks daily have a whopping 52 percent increased risk.

To keep bowels healthy and diminish the possibility of related cancers, experts suggest eating foods rich in vitamin C and D, maintaining a healthy weight and increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Black raspberries have been eyed as a food that contributes to a lowered colorectal cancer risk.

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