TUESDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables may help protect some smokers from lung cancer, a new European study suggests.
But, the researchers stressed that quitting smoking will do far more to reduce risk than "an apple a day" or having a salad for lunch.
In the study, participants who ate a diet that contained a diverse mix of fruits and vegetables appeared to have a 27 percent lowered risk of a common type of lung cancer, the researchers reported.
"First and foremost, the best way to reduce one's risk of lung cancer is to quit smoking. That is of paramount importance," said principal investigator Dr. H. Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita, project director of cancer epidemiology at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands. "However, we realize that there are still millions worldwide who cannot and don't want to quit smoking. To just ignore them would be somewhat of a pity. This study shows there is a possibility of reducing one's risk even if one is a smoker."
Keep in mind that "wide variety" meant more than a banana with breakfast and a helping of peas and carrots with dinner. Think kale and spinach; berries and melons; cabbage, cauliflower and eggplant -- some 40 different fruits and vegetables in all.
The researchers analyzed data on more than 450,000 adults from 10 European countries. Participants filled out questionnaires about dietary habits and lifestyle, including occupation, medical history, tobacco and alcohol use and physical activity.
Over the course of nine years, 1,613 of the people were diagnosed with lung cancer.
Vegetable consumption was divided into eight categories: leafy vegetables; fruiting vegetables; root vegetables; cabbages; mushrooms; grain and pod vegetables; onion and garlic; and stalk vegetables. Vegetables did not include legumes, potatoes and other tub
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