Consuming a variety of fruit may reduce the risk of lung cancer by up to 23 per cent, according to a new study.
Eating five portions of fruit and vegetables per day is one of the means that experts most frequently recommend for preventing cancer.
Now, the European EPIC study carried out by researchers from 10 countries has shown that, in the case of lung cancer, the important thing is not just the quantity but also the variety of fruit consumed, which can reduce the risk.
"This research looks more deeply into the relationship between diet and lung cancer," said María Jose Sanchez Perez, co-author of the study and director of the Granada Cancer Registry at the Andalusian School of Public Health.
"Aside from the amount consumed, it`s also important to take into account the variety. A varied diet reduces the risk of developing this cancer, above all in smokers," she added.
The results of this study show that eating "more than eight sub-groups" of vegetables cuts this risk by 23 per cent compared with eating "less than four sub-groups".
In addition, this risk falls by a further 4 per cent for each unit added to the diet from another sub-group.
"A significant link was only found in smokers. For every two additional units of different kinds of fruits and vegetables in the diet, the risk of lung cancer falls significantly by 3 per cent. So if smokers increase the variety of fruit they eat they could have a lower risk of developing this type of cancer," the researcher said.
The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) involves 23 centres from 10 European countries (Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Greece, Holland, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom and Sweden, working with a sample of 500,000 European subjects (41,000 of whom live in the Spanish regions of Asturias, Granada, Guipúzcoa, Murcia and Navarre).
The study has been published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.