When most people think about cancer treatment, they think of invasive surgical procedures, complex machines, and man-made chemical combinations. But not all breast cancer treatment has to be this complicated. Perhaps stopping the growth of a tumor could even be as simple as…eating a strawberry.
Hard to believe? We thought so too. And actually, you’d probably have to eat more like a pint of strawberries each day to see real results. But there may be something to it after all.
Strawberries are slowly being recognized as a sort of “super berry” that contain the nutrients and antioxidants necessary to promote apoptosis, or “cellular suicide.” Apoptosis is a regular function your body carries out on a regular basis to get rid of old cells and replace them with new cells.
However, cancer cells and other mutated or damaged cells are often resistant to the process of apoptosis, enabling them to continue to grow and thrive. These cells need a little extra “help” to be removed from the body, and that’s where strawberries might be of use.
A 2017 study in mice has shown that strawberry extract may actually stop the spread of breast cancer.
Half of the mice in the study were given strawberry extract as part of their regular diet (about 15% of it) in an effort to treat their lab-grown breast cancer tumors. The other half of the mice were not given any strawberry concentrate.
After 5 weeks, the mice who had been given strawberry extract showed no sign of cancer growth or spread, despite the fact that a very aggressive and invasive form of cancer cells was used. In some, the tumors even shrank.
Scientists are unsure whether or not their results will translate well to human patients, but this experiment is a great start in the right direction. More experiments will need to be conducted before doctors can actually recommend strawberries or strawberry extract to stop tumor growth, but eating some strawberries while we wait for further research results to become available probably won’t hurt the situation. After all, strawberries have other health benefits, such as reducing cholesterol and helping with arterial health.
And who knows? Maybe everybody’s favorite little red fruit will end up saving some lives. Mother nature for the win!
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?