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High fruit intake during teenage years cuts breast cancer risk


Washington: A high intake of fruit could be the key to living a breast cancer-free life, according to a recent study.

Two linked papers shed new light on the relation of alcohol and diet with breast cancer and heart disease.

The first study reports that high fruit consumption during adolescence may be associated with lower breast cancer risk, while the second study finds that increasing alcohol intake in later life is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

The team followed 90,000 nurses for over 20 years who reported their diet in early adulthood, of whom half also recalled their usual diet during adolescence.

They found that high fruit consumption during adolescence was associated with a roughly 25 percent lower risk of breast cancer diagnosed in middle age.

In particular, greater consumption of apple, banana and grapes during adolescence, as well as oranges and kale during early adulthood was significantly associated with a reduced breast cancer risk. But there was no link between intake of fruit juice in either adolescence or early adulthood and risk.

In a linked editorial, University of Oxford researchers say “much more evidence is needed before we can draw conclusions on the reported protective association between adolescent fruit intake and breast cancer risk.” But that these foods “have well known beneficial effects on health, and efforts should continue to increase intake of both fruit and vegetables at all ages.”

Both studies are observational, so their interpretation needs to consider the potential impact of other factors before any firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, the authors added.

The study appears in The BMJ. (ANI)

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