A Chinese study has highlighted the anti-cancer benefits of a diet high in fruit and vegetables. For stomach cancer in particular, potatoes and vitamin C are at the top of the list of preventive super-foods.
According to a vast Chinese study published in the European Journal of Cancer, eating potatoes or any other white vegetable is associated with a 33 per cent reduction in stomach cancer risk. Fruit is associated with a seven per cent reduction in the same risk.
White vegetables beneficial
Researchers at Zhejiang University collected and compared data from 76 studies, including 37 carried out in Europe, 11 in the U.S., 21 in Japan, four in China and three in Korea. A total of 6,316,385 participants were followed up for an average of 11 years (between three and 30 years), making this the biggest review undertaken to date into the link between food and stomach cancer.
The findings indicated that there is no link between total vegetable consumption and stomach cancer risk. However, they did discover that potatoes and white vegetables such as asparagus, chard, celery, cauliflower, endive and leek have preventive properties and are associated with a 33 per cent reduction in the risk.
Tomatoes increase risk
In contrast, eating tomatoes -- despite the fact that they contain lycopene, a red pigment known for its antioxidant and anti-free radical properties -- is curiously associated with respective increases of 11 per cent and 21 per cent in risk.
For an additional 100g of fruit per day, the risk reduction is estimated to be five per cent, and for an extra 100g of citrus fruit per day, the risk reduction was put at three per cent. And vitamin C was found to lower the risk by 11 per cent.
Acidifying food that increased the risk of stomach cancer included processed meat, salted fish (an increase of four per cent per portion per week), high-salt food (an increase of 10 per cent per portion per week), salt (an increase of 12 per cent per 5g per day), alcohol, beer and liquors (a five per cent increase per 10g per day), but not wine.
Food therefore plays a key role in stomach cancer risk. This new study supports previous research that pointed the finger at processed meat and recommended plenty of fruit and vegetables in our diets.