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Published: July, 2010; Vol 7, Num 2

 

Nothing to Lose, Much to Gain:

Get More Fruit into Your Diet

The research is never fully definitive, but evidence continues to suggest that more fruit in your diet may be a significant dietary precaution against cancer. Peaches, plums, cranberries and grapes may be your best choices.

The latest report comes from Texas AgriLife, the state’s research center for agriculture, natural resources and life sciences, associated with Texas A&M University.

In lab studies, researchers found that extracts of the phenolic compounds in peaches and plums killed malignant breast cancer cells without harming nearby healthy cells. The report, published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, acknowledges that more research is necessary before cancer patients will be treated with phenols from these fruits.

Nevertheless, the research lends encouragement to the consistent advice of nutritionists and medical professionals to add more fruit to your diet. Fruit provides a wide range of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidants while also helping to satisfy sweet cravings. Five servings of fruit and vegetables a day is a common recommendation.

Previously reported research suggests that cranberries also possess cancer-fighting properties, as do grapes. Research also suggests that the lycopene in tomatoes may help prevent prostate cancer.

However, a nine-year study in Britain’s Journal of the National Cancer Institute of 500,000 Europeans found only a weak correlation between high fruit and vegetable consumption and lower cancer risk, though it demonstrated other positive health effects. The authors of this study concluded that more research is needed and that it should focus on specific fruits that indicate the potential to fight cancer cells. 

In the meantime, the benefits of fruit consumption on heart disease, diabetes, stroke and obesity is well-documented. There’s nothing to lose and much to gain by adding more fruit to your diet.

[Steve Clark]