Vegetables, Fruits, Soy Help Defeat Cancers

WASHINGTON, DC, March 17, 2010 (ENS) – The benefits of fruits and vegetables for cancer prevention and survival are unmistakable, according to the Washington, DC-based nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Pointing to two newly published studies, the doctors say, “There is no need for animal-derived products in the diet, and you’re better off without them.”

The first research paper relates to breast cancer prevention in 34,028 postmenopausal women who participated in a Singapore Chinese health study.

Consumption of soy, fruits, and vegetables helped reduce the risk of developing breast cancer in this group of women, according to the new study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.”

Fruits and veggies can help prevent cancers. (Photo by Keith Weller courtesy USDA)

Co-author Lesley Butler, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology at Colorado State University, and her team found that postmenopausal women who consumed plenty of soy, fruits, and vegetables had a 30 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer, compared with those who consumed relatively little of these foods.

The longer the women had consumed these foods, the less chance they had of developing breast cancer, the study showed.

The second study relates to ovarian cancer survival in 341 Illinois women.

Women with the highest fruit and vegetable intakes have better ovarian cancer survival rates than those who generally neglect these foods, according to the new study in the “Journal of the American Dietetic Association.”

Researchers examined food patterns prior to ovarian cancer diagnosis in the 341 women. They found that yellow and cruciferous vegetables, in particular, contributed to longer survival, whereas consumption of dairy products and red and processed meats shortened lifespan.

Co-author Therese Dolecek, PhD, of the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and her colleagues concluded that low-fat, plant-based diets are not only beneficial for cancer prevention – they may also play a role in increasing survival time after diagnosis.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death among women in the United States.

These studies strengthen what is already known about reducing the risk of cancer. While not rejecting meat for a healthy diet, the American Cancer Society advises that eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day “can help reduce your cancer risk.”

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