For preventing cancer,

medical experts have recommended that people eat five portions of vegetables and fruit each day since this is one form of prevention.  Recently, the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study revealed that, in some forms of cancer, specifically lung cancer, eating lots of fruits may not be enough – the type of fruit should also be considered.

Eating the right types of fruits, and in their right amount, can reduce the risk of lung cancer by up to 23 percent.  The study was done by researchers coming from 10 countries all over Europe and the results were published in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention journal.

María José Sánchez Pérez, the director of the Andalusian School of Public Health’s Granada Cancer Registry and also the study’s co-author, said that the research delves deeply into the link between lung cancer and a person’s diet.  Furthermore, she said that apart from considering the amount of fruits consumed, it is equally important to consider the variety.  Variations in the diet lower the risk of developing lung cancer, most especially among people who smoke.

Results have shown that eating eight sub-groups, or more, of vegetables slashes cancer risk by 23 percent as compared to eating lesser than four sub-groups.  Additionally, cancer risk decreases by another 4 percent for each unit that is added to the person’s diet coming from another sub-group. The researchers emphasized that an important connection was only found in people who smoke.  For every two units of varied vegetables and fruits that are added into the diet, lung cancer risk significantly plummets by up to 3 percent.  This shows that if smokers add more fruit variety into the foods that they eat, they could actually lower their risk of developing lung cancer.

The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) is composed of 23 centres from 10 countries in Europe namely Sweden, the United Kingdom, Norway, Italy, Holland, Greece, France, Spain, Denmark and Germany, working with 500,000 Europeans as sample subjects.  41,000 of the 500,000 subjects live in Navarre, Murcia, Guipúzcoa, Granada and Asturias, which are Spanish regions.

Cancer of the lungs remains to be one of the most common types of cancer especially in developed countries.  Because of this, regardless of the study results which are deemed encouraging, Sánchez Pérez said that the most significant and effective way of ensuring the success of lung cancer prevention is to reduce the frequency of tobacco consumption among the population.

The Link between Fruits and Vegetables Consumption and Lung Cancer Affectation

Giving more variety in the consumption of fruits and vegetables is being linked to a reduced risk of developing lung cancer – specifically epidermoid carcinoma – which includes consuming two more units of vegetables and fruits, leading to a 9 percent risk reduction.  This particular effect is clearly seen among smokers, whose risk falls by 12 percent.

No significant connection was seen between the consumption of vegetables and fruits and the risk of developing cancer found in other tissues such as small cell and large cell carcinoma as well as adenocarcinoma.

Why Fruits are Good for You

Nowadays, we need as much vitamins and minerals as we can get.  The  various types of pollution that surround us each day, the longer hours we put in at work and the higher levels of stress that we experience day in and day out are enough to put a dent on our health.  Eating fruits and vegetables is the simplest way of providing the body with its much needed nutrients in order to help combat possible illnesses.

Free radicals are produced inside our bodies once it reacts with oxygen.  These molecules can cause damage inside the cells by destroying the cells’ membranes and proteins.  A damaged cell may trigger a cascade of events that would eventually lead to diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Factors such as too much alcohol consumption, smoking, overexposure to sunlight and pollution may set off the production of free radicals.

The body needs all the help that it can get – and eating fruits is the simplest thing that you can do. Here are more reasons why you should have your daily dose of fruits:

  • Fruits contain antioxidants which help neutralize free radicals inside the body.  Thus, diseases and premature aging are prevented.
  • Fruits are rich in dietary fiber – some have more amounts than others, so remember to choose wisely. Fiber helps in keeping the digestive system function efficiently. This will help the body get rid of waste and flush out toxins.  It also helps prevent bowel and colon cancer.

Additionally, eating five portions of vegetables and fruits each day has the following health benefits:

  • Reduced risk of having kidney stones
  • Reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduced risk of colon, stomach and mouth cancer
  • Reduced risk of having type 2 diabetes
  • Reduced risk of having a stroke and other heart diseases

How to Increase Fruit Intake

Increasing your intake of vegetables and fruits should not be very difficult.  You just have to incorporate these in your typical eating habits:

  • Juice your fruits and vegetables. Juicing is my top recommendation for increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables.
  • Add fruits to whatever it is that you are eating.  If you are having oatmeal for breakfast, you can add blueberries, strawberries or peaches.  For yogurts or cereals, add slices of fresh fruits to make it more delicious and healthy. You may also go for banana slices.
  • During lunch, add tomatoes and lettuce to your sandwich and include grapes or a slice of melon at the side.
  • For dinner, have a salad ready and a fruit cup as well. You may also add in a vegetable-based soup.
  • You don’t have to skip dessert.  Go for healthy options such as baked apples, or a slice of ripe pear with a little bit of raw agave nectar, or a frozen sorbet topped with your favorite fruit.
  • Wash meals up with your favorite smoothie – banana, strawberry, blueberry, and more.  You see, the only limiting factor here is your imagination.
  • Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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