Wednesday, December 24, 2014 – it has been proven in numerous studies that consumption of fruits and vegetables is one of the most effective ways to prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease. This recommendation is based on hundreds of epidemiological and experimental studies that establish a relationship between higher consumption of these foods and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
Some scientific evidence from 1997 to 2007
In an expert report published in1997 by the World Cancer Research Fund International(WCRF International) and the American Institute for Cancer Research(AICR), the experts provided convincing evidence that high consumption of fruits and vegetables leads to a reduced risk of many cancers while high or regular intake of red meat and processed meat considerably increases the risk for many types of cancer. The researchers advise each individual to “create meals that lower their risk for cancer and other chronic diseases and manage their weight, at the same time.”
In a second expert report published ten years later, in 2007, by the same organizations, WCRF and AICR, the scientists have reassessed the evidence. In the second study, which is most comprehensiveand most rigorous ever – took many precautions before assigning a causal relationship. It is nevertheless considered that the evidence was conclusive enough to be the basis for further recommendations.
The evidence supporting these recommendations, as well as others, has been updated as part of an ongoing cancer prevention research by the WCRF and AICR- WCRF/AICR Continuous Update Project(CUP)- in order to provide comprehensive up-to-date cancer research reports to the public.The results were evaluated by a panel of independent experts who drew conclusions and made recommendations.
“Today, the field of research in cancer prevention related to food, nutrition and physical activity is growing faster than ever. That’s why we established the Continuous Update Project (CUP), now the world’s largest resource of scientific literature on food, nutrition, physical activity and cancer”, stated one of the AICR experts.
Benefits fruits and vegetables
The recent findings of the independent expert group on the 2007 report and UPC have confirmed that increased consumption of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of these cancers:
• esophageal cancer
• lung cancer
• stomach cancer
- cervical cancer
- cancers of oral cavity, nasal cavity, pharynx and larynx (head and neck cancers).It does not mean these cancers are diet related only – in fact alcohol, smoking and infections are their major risk factors- the research only confirms the importance of a plant based diet in their prevention. In order words, people at risk of these cancers can increase their chance to stay free of the disease by consuming lots of fruits and vegetables.
It is important to know that scientists are still at the beginning of a major change in the perception of the role of different nutrients and certain specific foods in the occurrence of certain diseases, cancerin particular. As more and more organizations are interested, more sophisticated tools are being developed to more accurately establish fruit and vegetable consumption levels and their various components.
What is amount of vegetables and fruits to eat daily?
People need to be careful to not carelessly recommend fruits and vegetables to sick or fragile people. For instance, Grapefruit juice can act as an enzyme inhibitor, and thus interacts with certainchemotherapy drugs. In addition to get full benefits, the WCRF recommends “at least five servings” a day of fruits and vegetables. The scientists also call for “eat mostly plant foods diet,” valuing the impact of whole grains and legumes and stressing that plant-based foods are generally low in calories, while high in useful contents (fiber, antioxidants…), which helps consumers to be healthy and maintain a normal weight.
The evidence that fruits and vegetables help prevent some types of cancer are conclusive enough for any individual who care about his health to adopt a plant-based diet rich in fruits and cruciferous vegetables. Many studies have shown that most people who follow the recommendations of the WCRF/ AICR reduce not only their risk of developing cancer, but also many other chronic diseases.Consumption of fruits and vegetables is a key marker of a healthy lifestyle.
 (Par Giota Mitrou, Directeur du Financement de la Recherche, WCRF International – Fiona Veira-McTiernan, Responsable du Programme Scientifique, WCRF International – Martin Wisemanca, Conseiller Médico-Scientifique, WCRF International – EQUATION NUTRITION n°143, Juin 2014)
 WCRF/AICR. Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective. Washington DC: AICR, 2007
 Moody M, Le o, Rickert M et al. Folic acid supplementation increases survival et modulates high risk HPV-induced phenotypes in oral squamous cell carcinoma cells et correlates with p53 mRNA transcriptional down-regulation. Cancer Cell International 2012, 12:10-21