Women who consume a higher quantity of apples, bananas as well as green vegetables during their teenage years can significantly reduce their risk of developing breast cancer in adulthood, suggests a new study.
Fruits and vegetables are important sources of fibre, vitamins, and other biologically active substances that can favourably affect the pathogenesis of breast cancer through several biological mechanisms.
The findings, published in the journal BMJ, showed that high fruit consumption during adolescence was associated with a roughly 25 percent lower risk of breast cancer diagnosed in middle age.
Also, greater consumption of apple, banana and grapes during adolescence, as well as oranges and kale during early adulthood was significantly associated with a reduced breast cancer risk.
These foods "have well known beneficial effects on health, and efforts should continue to increase intake of both fruit and vegetables at all ages," said Maryam Farvid, scientist at Harvard University.
However, there was no link between intake of fruit juice in either adolescence or early adulthood and risk of the breast cancer.
The team followed 90,000 nurses for over 20 years who reported their diet in early adulthood, of whom half also recalled their usual diet during adolescence.
The analyses included consideration of tumour hormone receptor and menopausal status at diagnosis and the relation of specific fruits and vegetables to risk.