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Variety in the diet "reduces cancer risk"

Not just getting five a day, but eating a wide range of fruit and vegetables is important in helping to cut the risk of lung cancer, a study suggests.

The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands (RIVM) carried out the study, which found that increasing the variety of fruit and vegetables in the diet can have an important effect.

It also reminded smokers that quitting is the best thing people can do to reduce their chances of getting the killer disease.

Dr Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita, from RIVM, said: "Fruits and vegetables contain many different bioactive compounds and it makes sense to assume that it is important that you not only eat the recommended amounts, but also consume a rich mix of these bioactive compounds by consuming a large variety."

The study examined data from more than 450,000 people, of which around 1,600 had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

Their consumption of 14 commonly-eaten fruits and 26 vegetables, including fresh, dried or tinned foods, was studied to examine their risk.

Experts found that, regardless of the amount eaten, enjoying a variety of vegetables was linked to lower cancer risk.

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in the UK after breast cancer, with almost 40,000 new cases each year.

In addition, the chances of developing a type of lung cancer called squamous cell carcinoma fell substantially when a variety of fruits and vegetables were eaten, especially among current smokers.

The study was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, from the American Association for Cancer Research.

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