ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Meijer registered dietitian Tina Miller knows that eating lots of fruits and vegetables is one key to a long and healthy life. So, when a recently published European study concluded that there is only a modest link between eating fruits and vegetables and reducing cancer risks, she told local radio listeners to take the study with a grain of salt, so to speak.
Miller, who has a Saturday morning segment on Ann Arbor's WLBY radio, took the opportunity to re-encourage listeners to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The cancer-risk study, published this month in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute online, and reported by CNN last week, acknowledges a relationship does exist between fruit and vegetable consumption and reducing the overall risk of developing cancer. It just indicates that the relationship is not as strong as formerly believed.
Miller suggested that maybe the average of four servings per day consumed by the study's subjects wasn't enough.
“Maybe we need to eat more than five servings each day for a significant cancer prevention benefit,” Miller told the radio audience.
She quickly followed up by saying multiple studies have shown that eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables does help prevent disease.
She asked her audience to consider some facts revealed by other studies. For instance, she pointed out that greater beneficial effects are seen when specific foods and specific cancers are studied together. “For example, tomato products rich in lycopene have been shown to help to reduce prostate cancer risk.”
Miller said that other studies have shown that people who eat more than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day have a 20% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke compared with individuals who eat fewer than three servings per day.
Other findings show that eating five or more servings of vegetables and fruits per day helps reduce blood pressure and maintain it at a healthy level.
Miller went on to list the benefits to the digestive system of eating lots of fruits and vegetables, and she pointed to the detoxifying work of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli.
Miller, a regular guest on local icon Lucy Ann Lance's Saturday radio program, has covered such topics as healthy eating and eating on a budget and soon will do a segment on green grilling.