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Eat this amount of fruit, vegetables a day to avoid breast cancer, study says

While there is no known cure for breast cancer, scientists believe there are factors that can lower your risk of a diagnosis. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables daily is one of them, according to a new report. 

» RELATED: Sugar causes cancer cells to multiply, study says

Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health recently conducted a study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, to explore the relationships between fruits and veggies and the illness. 

“Although prior studies have suggested an association, they have been limited in power, particularly for specific fruits and vegetables and aggressive subtypes of breast cancer,” coauthor Maryam Farvid said in a statement. “This research provides the most complete picture of the importance of consuming high amounts of fruit and vegetables for breast cancer prevention.”

For the assessment, they analyzed diet questionnaires submitted every four years by participants of the Nurses’ Health Study and the Nurses’ Health Study II. The data dates back to 1980 and includes information on more than 180,000 women.

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After analyzing the results, they found that women who ate more than 5.5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day had an 11 percent lower risk of breast cancer, compared to those who only ate 2.5 or fewer servings daily.  

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They defined one serving as one cup of raw leafy vegetables, half a cup of raw or cooked vegetables, or half a cup of chopped or cooked fruits.

They noted cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and yellow and orange vegetables, were especially linked with lower breast cancer risk.

Upon further evaluation, they also discovered higher consumption of fruits and vegetables was particularly linked with lower risk of more aggressive tumors.

High amounts of fiber, found in fruits and vegetables, have been previously tied with reduced breast cancer risk. However, the scientists said the antioxidants and other micronutrients in the foods may also be important.

“While a diet with lots of fruits and vegetables is associated with many other health benefits,” senior author Heather Eliassen added, “our results may provide further impetus for women to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables.” 

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