Fruit and vegetables are high in nutrients that are potentially protective against cancer. They also play an important role in weight management. As obesity is a convincing risk factor for cancer of the bowel, kidney, pancreas, oesophagus, endometrium and breast (in post-menopausal women), fruit and vegetables may also protect against cancer indirectly by helping to maintain a healthy body weight.
Although there has been a weakening of the evidence supporting the role of fruit and vegetables in reducing the risk of some cancers, overall the evidence is suggestive of a protective effect. Fruit and vegetables appear to protect against cancers of the digestive tract, such as cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, stomach and bowel. Fruit may also protect against lung cancer.
There does not appear to be an association between fruit and vegetable consumption and prostate or breast cancer. However, foods containing lycopene such as tomato may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Cancer Council supports the Australian Dietary Guidelines that recommend eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, and the population recommendation of at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables daily.
Because the knowledge is still incomplete about the ways in which nutrients may reduce cancer risk, Cancer Council also recommends that people eat a variety of different fruit and vegetables to obtain maximum benefits. Fruit and vegetables are best consumed fresh and whole (i.e. not in a supplement form) and consumption of both cooked and raw vegetables are recommended.
See the full position statement:
Fruit, Vegetables and Cancer Prevention Position Statement