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Is it still worth eating fruit and vegetables?

05/20/2010 - Articles

Is it still worth eating fruit and vegetables?

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD

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Although the ‘five a day’ message is well known, a recent study in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute (April 6) revealed that fruit and vegetables seem to have little role in cancer prevention. The study showed that eating two and a half portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduces cancer risk by 3% and eating the recommended five reduces risk by just 9%. Previous studies had shown the risk of cancer could be reduced by as much as 50% by eating fruit and vegetables!

Commenting on this study recently, experts at prestigious medical journal The Lancet say that there are still several reasons why you should aim for five a day – or even more if you can. For fruit and vegetables protect against heart disease and stroke. Those eating more than five a day had a 26% lower risk of stroke than those eating fewer than three servings of fruit and vegetables. Eating between three and five servings of fruit and vegetables a day will reduce stroke risk by 9% compared to eating fewer than three servings.

And when it comes to cancer, the low figures on prevention shown by the recent study are for cancer overall. When it comes to cancer of the mouth, esophagus, bowel and lung, fruit and vegetables have a much bigger protective effect. Also, do not forget that eating fruit and vegetables in abundance plays an important role in keeping to a healthy weight. Obesity is now recognised as the second leading preventive cause of cancer. And, finally, fruit and vegetables are a very good source of fiber and a high fiber diet is protective against bowel cancer. So, yes, fruit and vegetables do play a central role in a healthy eating plan.

 

Source:

An apple (and four other fruit and vegetables) a day....The Lancet April 17 2010

 

Created on: 05/20/2010
Reviewed on: 05/20/2010

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