Anticancer Foods: Acerola Uses & Benefits

health benefits of acerola
Acerola cherry of thailand soft focus on White background

Antioxidants are very important for good health. Highly processed foods and even our choice of cooking techniques can promote damage to our cells. Antioxidants are important for fighting oxidative stress. Acerola cherry is one of the richest sources of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. You may be surprised by the many health benefits of this often forgotten fruit.

What is acerola?

Acerola is a small shrub and bears fruit much like cherries. Its fruit is red when it is fully ripe. It needs hot weather and a lot of light to thrive. This plant is native to the western hemisphere.  They are also called Barbados cherry or West indies cherry. This vibrant fruit is believed to be originally from southern Mexico and the Caribbean.

How is acerola used?

The berries from the acerola plant have a pleasant taste. They have been used as a source of food as well as in both folk and modern medicine. As mentioned, Acerola is most famous for being extremely rich in vitamin C. Traditionally; people used the plant to treat diarrhea, coughs, dysentery, and liver ailments.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Acerola?

Acerola is an astringent. It is known to improve skin texture and elasticity and aids digestive issues. Consuming acerola as a supplement is believed to induce the production of the important skin protein collagen. Collagen prevents premature aging. As a result, acerola has become an important ingredient in the cosmetic industry.

The amount of vitamin C in acerola exceeds the amount present in oranges and strawberries. Vitamin C prevents scurvy, builds collagen, and protects mucous membranes. Vitamin C also aids the immune system in fighting against viral infections.  Multiple studies support the benefits derived from acerola’s rich vitamin C content. In addition, Acerola contains vitamin A which is needed to maintain good eyesight.

red berries on person's hands

What Makes Acerola An Anti-cancer Food?

According to research acerola may also help prevent heart diseases, blood clots, and even cancer. The scientific reason works this way. Acerola is one of the natural riches sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C is one of the body’s most important antioxidants for combatting oxidative stress. Oxidative stress and free radical damage are the two causes of cell DNA damage that lead to cancer.

Acerola contains multiple anti-cancer compounds such carotenoids and anthocyanins. One small study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology did report that acerola extract appeared to inhibit lung cancer cell growth in mice.

Japanese scientists indicated that acerola might have anti-cancer properties, especially against lung cancer. During experiments, they prepared acerola extract, which, when applied to mouse tumor cells, stopped those cells’ growth.

Acerola is without question a powerful and natural antioxidant source, worth including in our disease prevention toolkit. Unfortunately, there are not enough studies to elevate it to the role as a proven therapy. Much research is still needed before it can be used for cancer treatment.

Although it is used in herbal medicine to cure different ailments, its role in treating cancer has not been proven.





Chef Shedric

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