According to an article recently published in the Annals of Oncology, a high intake of vegetables and fruit drastically reduces the risk of lung cancer. The reduced risk is particularly evident in smokers but is also apparent in non-smokers.

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the world. Although smoking is largely attributed to the prevalence of lung cancer, a significant portion of lung cancer patients have never smoked. Given the prevalence of this disease, researchers continue to evaluate ways to prevent or reduce the risk of the developing of lung cancer among both smokers and non-smokers. Diet has become an intense focus of such research in terms of its association with the risk of developing various types of cancers. In particular, studies have indicated that consumption of fruit and/or vegetables may significantly reduce an individual’s risk of developing or dying from some types of cancers.

Researchers from China recently conducted a clinical study to evaluate a possible relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and the risk of developing lung cancer. This study included 218 individuals with lung cancer and 436 individuals who did not have lung cancer or other smoking-related disease.

  • Individuals consuming the largest amount of vegetables had an approximate 60% reduced risk of developing lung cancer compared with individuals consuming the lowest amount of vegetables.
  • Individuals consuming the highest amount of fruits had an approximate 25% reduced risk of developing lung cancer compared with individuals consuming the lowest amount of fruit.
  • Smokers derived greater benefit from high vegetable and fruit consumption in terms of a reduction in the risk of developing lung cancer compared to non-smokers; however, non-smokers who consumed a large amount of vegetables and fruit also had a significantly reduced risk of lung cancer.

The researchers concluded that consumption of fruit and vegetables may significantly reduce the risk of the development of lung cancer, particularly among smokers. These data add to the growing body of evidence indicating the importance of fruits and vegetables in an individual’s diet.

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Reference: Galeone C, Negri E, Pelucchi C, et al. Dietary intake of fruit and vegetable and lung cancer risk: a case-control study in harbin, northeast china. Annals of Oncology. 2007; 18: 388-392.

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