A new study concludes that consumers have a much better chance to reduce their risk of cancer by eating one more serving fruit and vegetables a day than worrying about cancer risks from pesticide residues on produce.
The study estimated 20,000 cases of cancer per year could be prevented in the U.S. if just half of the U.S. population increased its fruit and vegetable consumption by one serving a day, according to a news release from the Hockessin, Del.-based Produce for Better Health Foundation.
The study also looked at the likely relationship between pesticide residues and cancer, and concluded the upper limit of 10 cases or less per year could result from residues.
The research used estimates from a 2011 World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute of Cancer Research published report, according to the release from PBH.
“Fear of cancer from pesticides unfortunately affects the perception of some consumers towards fruits and vegetables; this analysis shows that the opposite is true,” Rick Reiss, principal scientist, Exponent, said in the report. “Consuming a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is a way to prevent cancer and to lead a generally healthier life.”
“This study beautifully demonstrates relative risk: 20,000 to 10 or less,” PBH President Elizabeth Pivonka said in the release. “In fact, the true benefits are underestimated, given the role fruit and vegetables play in weight control, reduced risk of heart disease and overall cellular function in addition to cancer prevention.”
Pivonka said in the release that it is much more important to make fruits and vegetables at least half of what you eat than to be distracted with concerns about pesticide residues.