Eating Vegetables may significantly reduce your risk of lung cancer

According to researchers, eating more vegetables may significantly reduce your risk of lung cancer. Doctors know what causes lung cancer, but now a new study shows what may be able to prevent it.

“This is one of the first major studies with a large number of participants at a well respected research facility that has shown that diet and fruit and vegetable intake play a large part in lung cancer prevention,” says Abby Kallio, R.D., Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.

The recently published study explored the benefits of a specific compound in certain plant products called phytoestrogens.

“The researchers discovered that those people, both men and women, who had a higher intake of phytoestrogens from food, not from supplements, had a reduced risk of developing lung cancer later in life,” says Kallio.

In fact, they found those who consumed the highest amount of phytoestrogens reduced their lung cancer risk by as much as 40 percent.

Researchers hypothesized the compound was beneficial after it was discovered that post-menopausal women taking estrogen had a lower occurrence of the disease.

“Phytoestrogen is essentially the same as the hormone estrogen, but it’s just a weaker form,” adds Kallio. And while they say the findings are exciting, researchers are quick to point out that this should not give smokers a license to light up.

“This does not give a green light to smokers to just eat more fruits and vegetables and smoke more. What it means is to stop smoking and then eat more fruits and vegetables to prevent the development of lung cancer,” explains Kallio.

So what fruits and vegetables contain the most phytoestrogen? Apples, blueberries, spinach, carrots, and broccoli and it can also be found in whole grain and soy products.

Phytoestrogens have also been proven to reduce the risk of other cancers. Researchers say that women with high fruit and vegetable intake have a lower risk of breast cancer and that too is because of the benefits of phytoestrogens.

Baylor Medical Center at Garland

Provided by ArmMed Media
Revision date: July 3, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD