Do Dried Cranberries Help Fight Cancer?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 04, 2016
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Do dried cranberries help fight cancer?


Expert Answers

Beth Reardon, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., is Caring.com senior food and nutrition editor and the director of integrative nutrition at Duke Integrative Medicine. As a practitioner of integrative nutrition, Reardon takes a holistic approach to wellness, recognizing that the foundation for optimal health and healing begins with a health-promoting diet. As a practitioner of integrative nutrition, Reardon takes a holistic approach to wellness, recognizing that the foundation for optimal health and healing begins with a health-promoting diet.

Growing evidence suggests that cranberries along with other fruits that share some of its anti cancer activity (such as blueberries) , have the potential ability to limit the progression of many illnesses including cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers. The interest lies in activity of a number of compounds including tannins, flavonoids ,and other plant compounds, that have demonstrated superior ability to lower inflammation, inhibit tumor growth and increase apoptosis or cell suicide within cancer cells.
There are well over 20 compounds that are being studied and it is strongly felt that the activity is due more to the synergy between these various compounds than to any one in particular. In fact much more research needs to be done in humans because there is also the issue of bioavailability "“ that is to say how much of these identified active compounds are actually absorbed intact following digestion by the body. We also know that there is tremendous interest and excitement around many other foods demonstrating similar anti inflammatory and anti cancer potential that have a long history of use in other cultures. What they have in common is that they are all part of a plant based diet. I am thinking in particular of turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger among many other herbs and spices. I believe the bottom line in terms of disease prevention is to use these amazing berries as part of whole and unprocessed plant based diet and take full advantage of the inherent synergy that nature intended.

Bon Appetite and Be Well, Beth