Eating Your Vegetables Can Reduce Oral Cancer Risk

Your mother has always told you that you should eat your vegetables, and now your dentist will start telling you to do the same. A new study in Europe has found that eating green vegetables decreases one’s risk to developing oral cancer. Specifically, eating broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage at least once a week reduces the risk by 17 percent! Cruciferous vegetables–belonging to the mustard family of plants–sprouts, watercress, and radishes also protect against various cancers. Unfortunately, yet not surprisingly, these are the least popular of vegetables.

Other studies across Europe found that a diet rich in vegetables significantly decreases the rate of developing esophageal cancer by 28 percent, colorectal and breast cancer by 17 percent, and renal (kidney) cancer by 32 percent. These studies were performed in comparison to both men and women who eat no green vegetables at all.

The researchers from these studies examined 1,468 oral and pharyngeal cancers, 230 stomach cancers, 2,390 colorectal cancers, 185 liver cancers, 326 pancreatic cancers, 852 laryngeal cancers, 3,034 breast cancers, 1,031 ovarian cancers, 1,294 prostate cancers, 767 renal cancers, and 11,492 people who do not have cancer as controls for the research.

Scientists have thought that nearly a third of all cases of oral cancer could be linked to an unhealthy diet–one that is lacking in fruits and green vegetables. Their goals with these studies was to see how much water this theory held. Turns out, there’s definitely plenty of evidence that backs it up.

Moral of the story: listen to your parents and eat your vegetables. It’s a shame that it’s the least liked vegetables that are the best for us, but it’s better to eat vegetables we don’t like than it is to go through cancer treatment, especially oral cancer treatment. Just add some broccoli to your dinner menu once a week. Eat some fruit for a snack instead of your usual fare.

Also, add this routine to your kids’ meals as well. It’s never too late to tell them to eat their vegetables!