Varied Diet Prevents Cancer

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Variety isn't only the spice of life; it could be the secret to avoiding cancer, say experts at the American Institute of Cancer Research. Studies that compare the diet and disease rate of different populations have long shown that the risks of cancer and other diseases are substantially lower in countries whose citizens routinely consume a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Since studies involving single foods or food components often fail to uncover strong protective associations, scientists around the world are now looking at the complex protective interactions that take place among the different components in the overall diet. "We eat foods, not just nutrients, and there is overwhelming evidence that eating up to a pound of diverse fruits and vegetables can markedly reduce the risks of common forms of cancer and other diseases," says Dr. David Heber, of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. He urged Americans to eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day and to make a special effort to consume a diverse array of these foods.