Blueberry 'superfood' claim played down

In collaboration with the Press Association

Cancer Research UK has played down the latest 'superfood' report - this time involving suggestions that blueberries can prevent bowel cancer.

US scientists reported at the American Chemical Society's annual conference that pterostilbene - a natural antioxidant found in blueberries - could help prevent bowel cancer in a small number of rats exposed to a cancer-causing chemical.

Eighteen rats were given the cancer-causing chemical. Nine of them were then fed a normal diet , while the other nine received the same diet supplemented with pterostilbene. The rats given pterostilbene developed fewer bowel tumours.

Ed Yong, senior science information officer at Cancer Research UK, explained: "While pterostilbene could lower the risk of bowel cancers in rats, it is unclear if it will produce the same benefits in humans.

"More research will help to determine whether this chemical could have a role in the fight against cancer. For the moment, the best advice is to eat a healthy, balanced diet rather than rely on specific 'superfoods,'" he added.