Adding a variety of vegetables to one’s diet could help lower your risk of lung cancer, according to a new study. It also found that adding a variety of fruits and vegetables may decrease the risk of squamous cell lung cancer — especially among smokers.
The results appear in the “Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention” journal.
There is no substitution for quitting smoking. While proactively trying to do so, also focusing on what’s in your diet can be of great advantage. Consuming a mix of different types of fruit and vegetables can further deflate risk of lung cancer all by itself, and that discovery appears to be stronger in smokers than non-smokers.
Using information from the ongoing, multi-centered European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, researchers evaluated more than 452,000 people, about 1,600 of whom were diagnosed with lung cancer.
They then honed in on 14 commonly eaten fruits and 26 commonly eaten vegetables. All the produce consisted of fresh, canned or dried products.
Older studies have shown that the amount of vegetables and fruits you eat could lower your risk of lung cancer, particularly one specific type of lung cancer: squamous cell carcinoma. The new study didn’t focus on the amount being consumed, but rather the variety of fruits and vegetables in the diet.
They found that, when this was the case, lung cancer risk went down. Also, the risk of squamous cell carcinoma decreased substantially when a variety of fruits and vegetables was eaten. These foods contain a slew of natural chemicals that have direct biological actions in the human body. Getting the largest mix you can of these “bioactive compounds” is your best bet.
It may be the first study that focused on diversity of produce. The researchers say the results are “very interesting” and show that these extremely healthful foods could protect anyone from lung cancer, even smokers.
Tobacco smoke contains a complex mixture of cancer-causing agents. Therefore, a mixture of protective agents is needed to have any beneficial effect in reducing one’s chance of lung cancer. When shopping in the produce aisles, it’s best to grab a variety of colors: dark greens, bright yellows and oranges, deep reds, and the like.
Optimally, organic and local produce is best for fighting cancer and for your health overall.