Everyone has heard that eating healthily is better for you, but according to research by the University of Illinois at Chicago, eating your fresh fruits and vegetables could very well be a matter of life and death.
In a study of women with ovarian cancer, they found that those who ate the most fruit and vegetables had greater survival rates than those that didn’t.
Ovarian cancer is a particularly difficult cancer to treat because the initial stages of it are asymptomatic so the sufferer is not normally aware they have it until the final stages. Only 45 percent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are still alive five years after the diagnosis. This is why it is so important for researchers to find ways to prevent it and to treat it more effectively.
In the study, 351 ovarian cancer sufferers were asked to report what kind of diet they had in the three to five years prior to their diagnosis.
Different food groups included fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, dairy products, fats and oils, and sweets and alcohol. These groups were then sub-divided into further groups of desirable and less desirable choices.
The researchers found that the women who ate a higher total amount of fruits and vegetables and those who consumed a higher amount of vegetables alone, had a survival advantage on the other women.
Higher intakes of less healthy meats caused people to die earlier.
The authors wrote, "The study findings suggest that food patterns three to five years prior to a diagnosis of epithelial ovarian cancer have the potential to influence survival time. The pre-diagnosis food patterns observed to afford a survival advantage after an epithelial ovarian cancer diagnosis reflect characteristics commonly found in plant-based or low fat diets. These diets generally contain high levels of constituents that would be expected to protect against cancer and minimize ingestion of known carcinogens found in foods."