Daily Express


- By Giles Sheldrick

TEENAGERS with diets rich in five miracle fruits and vegetables can slash their risk of breast cancer by a quarter, research suggests.

Three servings a day of apples, bananas, grapes, oranges and kale could protect against a disease diagnosed in 50,000 British women every year. The five were “significan­tly associated” with reduced risk, according to a 20-year study at the Harvard School of Public Health in the US, giving weight to the idea that what we eat as teenagers could be “particular­ly important” in later life.

Researcher­s tracked more than 90,000 women aged 27 to 44 from 1981, quizzing them on their diets in childhood and again from 13 to 18. By 2013 they saw 1,347 cases of breast cancer in women who had previously given informatio­n about their teenage diets.

The researcher­s said: “We noted 2.9 servings a day fruit consumptio­n during adolescenc­e compared with 0.5 servings was associated with about a 25 percent lower risk of breast cancer.

“If this apparent risk reduction is applied to a lifetime risk of breast cancer, the absolute number of breast cancers that could potentiall­y be prevented by higher intake of fruits would be substantia­l.”

Experts say the findings, published today in the British Medical Journal, reinforce the importance of a healthy and balanced diet in staving off a host of killer diseases.

Although in line with existing advice to eat more fruit and vegetables, this is one of the first studies to suggest that food choices during teenage years could be crucial. How they protect against breast cancer is not known.

One theory is breast tissue might be particular­ly sensitive to cancercaus­ing factors in children and young adults.

Professors Timothy Key and Gillian Reeves, from the Cancer Epidemiolo­gy Unit at Oxford University, said: “Much more evidence is needed before we can draw conclusion­s... but these foods have well-known beneficial effects on health and efforts should continue to increase intake of both fruit and vegetables at all ages.”

Catherine Priestley, of Breast Cancer Care, said the study “offers a new take on healthy eating” but added: “A link between eating specific fruits during teenage years to help lower breast cancer risk is a long way from being fact.”

For informatio­n call 0808 800 6000 or visit breastcanc­ercare.org.uk

RESEARCH shows that eating a lot of fruit leads to a lower risk of suffering breast cancer. It’s not enough on its own but an apple a day does help to keep the doctor away.

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