Five A Day.
Candid street scene in Taunton Somerset.
Five a day keeps the doctor away. That's the healthy eating message we've been fed for a long time now but according to the findings of the largest ever study on diet and cancer our risk of developing the disease is only reduced by 3% with every two extra servings of fruit and vegetables that we eat - so will eating our greens really keep us in the pink?
Scientists from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York examined the diet, lifestyle and cancer risk of over 400,000 people across Europe for a period of 8 to 9 years. During this time, 30,000 people developed cancers. The researchers then looked for links between fruit and vegetable consumption and cancer risk and found that if everyone ate an extra 2.5 portions of fruit and veg every day, it would only reduce the risk of developing cancer by around 3%
- but before you swap your carrot sticks for crisps and your banana for a biscuit read on ….
Three reason to keep eating at least 5 a day
1. Eating fruit and vegetables significantly reduces the risk of a wide range of illnesses such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity so even if the reduced risk they offer against some cancers is small it is still essential to include plenty of them in your diet.
2. The '3%' reduction in cancer risk that was reported relates to people who are already eating four to five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. This figure was found to increase to nine per cent for people who eat less than two and a half portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
3. The 3% figure can also be misleading as the research looked at the reduced risk of 'all cancers'. However, experts now know that a high intake of fruit and vegetables is more effective at preventing some types of cancer (those of the mouth, digestive system and lungs) than it is other cancers such as prostate or ovarian cancer. Therefore, as the study looked at the risk for over 200 different types of cancer, it is perhaps not so surprising that the overall protective impact appeared relatively low.
Down here in the "west country" we consider Cider a fruit so five pints a day sounds ok to me...