A new US study appears to show that higher consumption of fruits and vegetables in teenagers and young adults reduces the risk of developing breast cancer in later life.
It has been known for some time that fresh produce consumption can have a protective effect against various cancers, but up to now studies have focused on adults. It is now becoming clear, however that many of the causes of cancer start in early life.
The research followed 90,000 nurses over 20 years. The findings, published in the journal BMJ, revealed that consumption of 2.9 servings of fruit per day during adolescence was associated with a roughly 25 per cent lower risk of breast cancer diagnosed in middle age compared with the consumption of 0.5 servings of fruit per day.
Also, greater consumption of apple, banana and grapes during adolescence, as well as oranges and kale during early adulthood was significantly associated with a reduced breast cancer risk.
These foods “have well known beneficial effects on health, and efforts should continue to increase intake of both fruit and vegetables at all ages,” said Maryam Farvid, scientist at Harvard University.
The research showed that there was no link between consumption of fruit juice in adolescence or early adulthood and the risk of breast cancer.