Red Raspberries: cancer protection that tastes good:
Honeybees are working over my raspberry patch this week. Patiently awaiting my own berries to ripen, I've started watching the grocery store flyers waiting for when raspberries are loss leaders and cheap enough to buy in earnest. I love picking fresh raspberries off our bushes early in the morning, but I get almost as much happiness carrying flats of berries home from the store. This is Park Hill, and I'll never grow enough berries to last me the winter. Luckily raspberries freeze well: I put the entire flat, boxes and all, straight into the freezer. Once frozen ice hard, it's easy to dump the berries into freezer bags. Some years I've frozen enough berries to last the winter.
The recent research will inspire me to freeze even more berries than usual this summer. Raspberries are the by far the best source of a chemical called ellagic acid. (Actually raspberries contain elligatanins which break down to ellagic acid but let's not get fussy here.) It's this acid that scientists are so interested in. It apparently prevents cancer and they want to know why.
In a recent study, rats fed ellagic acid along with a 'poisoned diet' of mutagenic chemicals developed cancer a third less often than the control group (actually 20% incidence compared to 72%).1 Prevention, as is often the case, appears to be due at least in part to faster detoxification of the cancer causing chemicals by the body. Ellagic acid stimulates increased production of reduced glutathione. Ellagic acid does more for cancer than simply preventing it. It effects cancer cells directly. Even at low concentrations (10-5 M), Ellagic acid inhibits cancer cell growth and stimulates apoptosis (cell suicide).2 Though most of the research has focused on the ellagic acid component of the raspberries, there may be something more involved. When freeze dried raspberries are used in the research, they worked better than pure ellagic acid, forcing the admission, "The inhibitory effect of the berries could not be attributed solely to the content of the chemopreventive agent, ellagic acid, in the berries."3
This is exciting because of the key word 'low concentrations.' The concentrations of ellagic acid required to halt cancer growth and cause apoptosis in a test tube can be achieved by eating about a cup of raspberries a day. Usually when we talk about nutraceuticals, we are talking about food extracts or concentrates. We usually can't eat enough of the food to easily get a "therapeutic effect." But in this case we can. As this raspberry research hits the market place, there will no doubt be "raspberry concentrates and extracts" for sale. There are already multilevel "One-a- day Raspberry" capsules selling on the internet. These products may someday have their use, for now, I'm happy with the idea of eating all the raspberries I can.
Note: cancer patients or people at high risk for cancer, there is nothing wrong with actually consuming a cup of day of raspberries as part of their treatment plan. [An apparenlty excellent website about raspberries is sponsored by the Washington State Raspberry Commission at: red-raspberry.com] check this: I haven't been able to get it to open.
mix together and taste. Add more sweetener if needed. Better to use as little sugar as possible and have a slightly tart pie. Of course it's probably healthier, but a tart pie goes better with icecream. Bake at about 400 degrees till crust is golden and berries are bubbling. This makes a Big Pie or two little pies.
Send more raspberry recipes to firstname.lastname@example.org