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Does Eating Fruits And Vegetables Reduce The Risk Of Cancer?
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The answer is YES!

 

There are studies suggesting that eating fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of cancer. Moreover, eating more vegetables and fruits can also reduce the risk of developing obesity which indirectly contributes to lowering the risk of cancer.

How much to consume?

It is recommended to consume at least 2 1/2 cups of variety of colourful fruits and vegetables each day.

How to prepare?

Cooking in general may break down the plant cell walls, making nutrients and other phytochemicals more readily absorbed. However cooking for too long can sometimes remove water-soluble vitamins. Therefore the best way to preserve nutritional content of vegetables is by microwaving, steaming or eating them raw.

Juicing is also one of the ways to have your vegetables and fruits. Juicing allows better absorption of some nutrients in fruits and vegetables. However juices contain less fibre and may contribute to quite some calories consumed extensively.

How about pesticides and herbicides? Don’t they cause cancer?

When pesticides and herbicides are misused in industrial, farming and other workplace setting, it can be toxic. However, to date, there is no evidence that the low dosage of pesticides and herbicides residues found in food may increase the risk of cancer. That being said, we should not take it for granted and we should wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating.

Can dietary supplements substitute fruits and vegetables?

No. Many healthful compounds are found in vegetables and fruit. These compounds are most likely working together to produce their health effects. There may also be important compounds in whole foods that are not yet known and therefore not included in supplements. Thus, fruits and vegetables is still the best source of vitamins and minerals.

Can a vegetarian diet further help to reduce cancer?

Studies do suggest that vegetarian diet may help in reducing the risk of cancer. This could be due to the fact that vegetarian diets are normally low in saturated fat and high in fibre, vitamins and phytochemicals. Vegetarian diets also do not include red meat and processed meat in their diet. All these factors contribute to lowering the risk of cancer. However, those on vegetarian diets need to ensure they consume sufficient amounts of vitamin B12, iron and calcium, as vegetarian diets contain low amounts of these nutrients and insufficient consumption of these nutrients can lead to other health problems. This is especially for the strict vegetarian diet which avoids not only animal products but also milk and eggs.

Reference:

  1. American Cancer Society. Common question about diet and cancer [Internet]. 2012. [updated 2012 Nov 1; cited 2013 Feb26]. Available from: http://www.cancer.org/healthy/eathealthygetactive/acsguidelinesonnutritionphysicalactivityforcancerprevention/acs-guidelines-on-nutrition-and-physical-activity-for-cancer-prevention-common-questions
  2. Tantamango-Bartley Y, Jaceldo-Siegl K, Jing F, Fraser G. Vegetarian Diets and the Incidence of Cancer in a Low-risk Population. Cebp. 2012; 22(2): 286-94.
  3. Tao Huang, Bin Yang, Jusheng Zheng, Guipu Li, Wahlqvist ML, Duo Li. Cardiovascular Disease Mortality and Cnacer Incidence in Vegetarians: A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review. Ann Nutr Metab. 2012; 60:233-240.