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Eat your Vegetables

Posted 1/28/2013

Posted in

  Yes, the title of today's entry is "Eat your vegetables" but this is not going to be any kind of promise that doing so will prevent or cure cancer. As much as we would like to identify a diet that could deliver those results, there isn't one--or, at least, not one that we know about. I have written before about the general value of good nutrition, and there is continuing evidence that certain fruits and vegetables are especially helpful. For now, I think the sane perspective is that a balanced diet, heavy with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, is good for our general health and may even help us stay well.

  This is from an NCI fact sheet about crucifeous vegetables:

Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention

Key Points

Cruciferous vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, other nutrients, and chemicals known as

Cruciferous vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, other nutrients, and chemicals known as


Glucosinolates break down into several biologically active compounds that are being studied for

possible anticancer effects.

Some of these compounds have shown anticancer effects in cells and animals, but the results of

studies with humans have been less clear.

What are cruciferous vegetables?

Cruciferous vegetables are part of the Brassica genus of plants. They include the following

Cruciferous vegetables are part of the genus of plants. They include the following

vegetables, among others:


Bok choy


Brussels sprouts



Collard greens








And from further down on this same fact sheet:

Breast cancer: One case-control study found that women who ate greater amounts of

cruciferous vegetables had a lower risk of breast cancer (17). A meta-analysis of studies

conducted in the United States, Canada, Sweden, and the Netherlands found no association

between cruciferous vegetable intake and breast cancer risk (18). An additional cohort study

of women in the United States similarly showed only a weak association with breast cancer

risk (19).

And from Health Day

Colorful Fruits, Vegetables May Be Key to Cancer-Fighting Diet

Fall favorites -- apples, cranberries, sweet potatoes -- are beneficial all year long, expert says

MONDAY, Nov. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Many cancer-fighting fruits and vegetables are at their nutritional peak in the fall, and it's a good time to incorporate them into your diet, a nutritional expert advises.

For example, research suggests that eating an apple a day really may keep the doctor away, by helping to prevent throat, mouth, lung and possibly breast cancer, noted Stacy Kennedy, a senior nutritionist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

Apples contain a nutrient called quercetin, which protects the cell's DNA from damage that could lead to cancer.

"The key is to eat them raw and with the skin on. That's where many of the nutrients are found," Kennedy said in an institute news release.

Cranberries, another healthy fall favorite, are in season and at their nutritional peak now. Kennedy suggested stocking up on bags of cranberries and freezing them for use throughout the year, because there is evidence that the benzoic acid found in these berries may inhibit lung and colon cancer, and some forms of leukemia.

Among the brightly colored fresh vegetables that are available at this time of year are beets, carrots and parsnips. Kennedy suggests serving generous portions of these.

"The brighter and richer the pigment, the higher the level of cancer-fighting nutrients," Kennedy said.

Dark, leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts are also important, she pointed out. People who eat plenty of these vegetables have lower rates of lung, prostate and stomach cancer.

"Kale is a top choice because it's rich in phytonutrients called indoles, which stimulate liver detoxification and help fight cancer," Kennedy said.

Orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, squash and pumpkins are all packed with nutrients called carotenoids, which have been linked to the prevention of colon, prostate, breast and lung cancer, Kennedy said.

Color is key to finding cancer-fighting foods in any season, Kennedy added. "Eating a plant-based diet is the best way to help lower your risk of cancer all year long," she said.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about cancer prevention.


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