Fruits and veggies high in fiber and flavonoids will cut your risk of breast cancer by 25 percent, says a new study

By Macaela Mackenzie
Updated: May 12, 2016

We all know that fruits and veggies are good for us (we're even ready to let go of that bias we've been carrying around since we were kids and admit that Brussels sprouts are delicious).

But fruits and veggies are about to become even more of a crave-worthy part of your diet. A recent study published in the British Medical Journal found that a diet rich in certain fruits and vegetables can slash your risk of breast cancer by 25 percent. Okay, we're listening... (Related: Can Fiber Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer?)

Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan school of Public Health mined data from the Nurses's Health Study-a massive ongoing national survey of 90,000 nurses' health habits and outcomes. Specifically, they were looking at how diet (especially for teens and young adults) impacted later risk of breast cancer in women.

They found that nurses who reported eating three servings of fruit during their teenage years had a 25 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer later in life than those who skimped on their fruit servings. (Did you know Eating Too Late Can Raise Your Breast Cancer Risk?!)

But that's not all the researchers found. They also noticed that not all fruits are created equal when it comes to lowering cancer risk: apples, bananas, and grapes were associated with the greatest reduction in risk.

It's important to note that these effects are associated with a diet rich in fruit in those critical teen years, but the researchers also found that oranges and kale are particularly good for delivering these effects in adult diets. Bring on the OJ and green smoothies!

Why are certain farmers market picks better than others? According to the researchers, apples, bananas and grapes are particularly high in fiber and flavonoids, which might be the cancer-fighting keys. Antioxidants like flavonoids and vitamin C (found in kale and oranges) help to fight cell damage that can lead to abnormal growth and up your risk for cancer.

So even if you fell short on your fruit servings in your teens, it's never too late-start upping your kale consumption now to reap some of the breast cancer-reducing benefits. (Science says A Third of Cancers Are Preventable if you make healthier lifestyle choices!)


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