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Can a Diet High in Fruits and Veggies Reduce the Risk of Lymphoma?

A study published in the International Journal of Cancer studied the effects of fruit and vegetables on the risk of lymphoma by looking at the diets of over 35,000 middle-aged women living in Iowa. They found that those who ate the most fruits and vegetables reduced their risk by about a third. These results were seen for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of lymphoma most likely to affect older people.

They also looked at the effects of specific vitamins and nutrients on the risk of lymphoma. Surprisingly, higher intakes of the mineral manganese was associated with a 38 percent reduction, while diet rich in vitamin C reduced the risk of lymphatic cancer by 22 percent. Alpha-carotene – found in carrots, winter squash, and tomatoes – lowered the risk by 29 percent. Proanthocyanidins present in cranberries, blackberries, plums, and apples, reduced the risk by about a third. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower also lowered the risk of lymphatic cancer.

A Variety of Veggies May be Best for Reducing the Risk of Lymphoma

It certainly looks like a trip to the produce stand would benefit those who are worried about the risk of lymphoma. This study suggests that a variety of fruits and vegetables of different colors may be best for helping to keep cancer of the lymphatic system at bay. Orange and purple fruits and vegetables seemed to be particularly good because of their high levels of carotenes and proanthocyanidins.

What About Red Meat?

Another way to reduce the risk of lymphoma is to cut back on red meat. Several studies have shown that non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma rates are higher in people who eat red meat on a regular basis – particularly processed and fried meats. Dairy consumption has also been shown to raise the risk of cancer of the lymphatic system in some studies.

Reducing the Risk of Lymphoma: The Bottom Line

It makes sense that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables could be protective against cancer of the lymphatic system. Fruits and vegetables are a natural source of antioxidants and many have anti-inflammatory properties – all of which help to short circuit the steps that lead up to cancer. Unfortunately, many people make meat the focus of their meal. Why not enjoy the bounty of fresh vegetables available to you and lower your risk of lymphoma at the same time?

Dr. Kristie

This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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