Mechanisms Accounting for the Cancer Protective Effects of Bioactive Dietary Components in Fruits and Vegetables

Authored by: Cindy D. Davis , John A. Milner

Handbook of Nutrition and Food

Print publication date:  July  2013
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781466505711
eBook ISBN: 9781466505728
Adobe ISBN:


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Dietary behavior is one of the most important and modifiable determinants for the risk of developing cancer. Recommendations to consume larger quantities of fruits and vegetables for protection from chronic diseases, including cancer, come principally from epidemiologic investigations and from a variety of animal and cell culture studies. Collectively, epidemiologic studies suggest that increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may reduce cancer risk, yet it is evident that considerable inconsistencies exist in the literature. 1 3 This discrepancy is illustrated in Table 66.1, which highlights some of the epidemiologic studies investigating the relationship between vegetable intake and colon cancer. Recent meta-analysis of prospective studies and colorectal cancer risk suggest a small protective effect (RR = 0.91, 95% CI = 0.86–0.96) of the highest versus lowest intake of vegetables and a linear dose–response (RR = 0.98, 95% CI = 0.97–0.99) per 100 g/day. 24

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