Open the produce drawer in your refrigerator and you may be greeted by food that can lower your risk of cancer. At a recent meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, scientists revealed the latest findings on fruits and vegetables. We always knew they are nutritious. But we didn’t know they can help shield your body from tumors.
The specific cancers that apples, carrots, and the lot prevent are those of the head, breast, ovaries, pancreas, and neck. Researchers found that the more fruits and veggies you eat, the greater your protection. For example, people who ate six servings for every 1,000 calories they took in had a 30% lower risk than people who ate less than two servings.
Presenters of one study said that that eating just one extra serving of veggies or fruit has a direct effect on your risk of head and neck cancers. This was culled from information on nearly 500,000 adults. Over five years, 787 people developed head or neck cancer. Fruits and vegetables, after accounting for smoking and alcohol as risk factors, offered protection against these two cancers. With veggies more powerful, people who ate the most produce had the lowest cancer risk.
If you add just one extra serving a day, the risk drops six per cent, they said.
Another study showed that eating broccoli and soy prevents breast and ovarian cancers from spreading. If women eat soy in moderation, and broccoli as much as they want, this will help protect them from aggressive tumors.
A third study took compared 184,000 people’s intake of flavonoids to their risk of pancreatic cancer. Flavonoids are natural chemicals found in many fruits and veggies. Those who ate the most dropped their risk of this cancer by 23%. Smokers may want to particularly pay attention to this. Smokers who get a lot of flavonoids can reduce their risk by 60%.
No matter which way you slice it, adding more fruits and vegetables to your daily diet will shield you from cancer. Researchers suggest making five to nine servings a goal. Aim for a variety of items, and don’t overcook them because nutrients such as flavonoids can be destroyed or seep out.