A new study conducted at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and published in the British Medical Journal, has found that consuming high levels of fruit as a teenager – and oranges and kale as a young adult – can significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer.
For the study, researchers took data from 90,476 premenopausal women currently aged 27 to 44 from the Nurses’ Health Study II who completed a questionnaire on diet in 1991, and compared it to a diet questionnaire completed in 1998 by 44,223 of those women. They then did a follow up in 2013.
“There were 3235 cases of invasive breast cancer during follow-up to 2013”, states the study’s abstract. “Of these, 1347 cases were among women who completed a questionnaire about their diet during adolescence (ages 13-18). Total fruit consumption during adolescence was associated with a lower risk of breast cancer.”
According to researchers; “The association for fruit intake during adolescence was independent of adult fruit intake. There was no association between risk and total fruit intake in early adulthood and total vegetable intake in either adolescence or early adulthood. Higher early adulthood intake of fruits and vegetables rich in α carotene was associated with lower risk of premenopausal breast cancer.”
They continue; “For individual fruits and vegetables, greater consumption of apple, banana, and grapes during adolescence and oranges and kale during early adulthood was significantly associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer. Fruit juice intake in adolescence or early adulthood was not associated with risk.
The study concludes; “There is an association between higher fruit intake and lower risk of breast cancer. Food choices during adolescence might be particularly important.”
The full study can be found by clicking here.