Just in time for May’s “National Strawberry Month,” scientists add “anti-cancer” to the long list of possible health benefits from strawberries.  A new study from UCLA suggests: Strawberry extracts halted cancer cell growth in lab trials.

Researchers credit the anthocyanins in the strawberry samples for suppressing proliferation of colon, prostate, and oral cancer cell cultures. Anthocyanins are the compounds which lend vivid vermillion and violet hues to berries, grapes and even red cabbage. Anthocyanins are believed partly responsible for the heart and brain-health benefits of red wine and blueberries respectively, in preliminary research.

In addition to anthocyanins, strawberries are contain quercetin, which may have a role in Alzheimer’s by protecting brain cells from oxidation indicated in lab studies. Tufts researchers found that strawberry-supplemented diets slowed and even reversed brain decline in animal studies. Another strawberry compound — C3G — could help with weight management by regulating appetite and increasing fat-metabolism. 

 Published May 1, 2008