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Why are vegetables good for you?
Getting more veggies in your diet is one of the basics of the Mediterranean Diet. The best part is that it's the one thing you can't get too much of. (You'll never hear your doctor say, "Hmm, my lab tests show that you've been getting too many carrots.")

Why are fruit and nuts good for you?
Nuts are great for you. While they do have a lot of calories, these are the best quality calories because they are high in monounsaturated fat. Nuts have been shown to be very satisfying and this makes them a great choice for snacking.

Fruits, Vegetables, and Colorectal Cancer
Studies have shown that a diet high in fruits and vegetables can help you avoid a number of types of cancers, including oral cancersskin cancer, and prostate cancer. But the effect of a diet high in fruits or vegetables has not yet conclusively linked to the incidence of colon or rectal cancers.



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Eat your fruits and vegetables and keep your mouth happy

Oral cancer, primarily a disease that occurs in men, was the seventh most common form of cancer—for both sexes—in 2002. Over 210,000 deaths are caused each year by oral cavity and pharynx cancers. The primary risk factors are well known and include chewing and/or smoking tobacco and consuming alcohol. Often nutritional and dietary deficiencies are linked to oral cancers, but recent research studies have sought to determine the effect of fruit and vegetable intake.

Researchers in Naples, Italy examined the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake and oral cancers by reviewing 16 previous studies performed all over the world (Am J Clin Nutr 2006(5);83:1126-34). After pooling the data, 65,802 persons were eligible for analysis of their fruit intake, and 57,993 study participants were eligible for analysis of their vegetable intake. The results showed a whopping reduction of risk of oral cancer of 49% for each portion of fruit consumed per day, with greater protection given by citrus fruit than for all other fruits. Green vegetables, when compared with all other kinds of vegetables, gave no added protection against oral cancer, but vegetables of all kinds helped to reduce the risk of oral cancer.

The results here should be viewed with some caution, as definitions of "fruit" and "vegetable" can vary across geographic locations and are also dependent on the individual subject's ability to recall their diet. Indeed, the researchers cite the need for specific, long-term research to confirm their findings. That said, their findings are a clear indication that fruits and vegetables have some protective effect against oral cancers.

What this means for you

Fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy diet; they taste great and make great snacks for both kids and adults. Don’t smoke or chew tobacco. Your mouth (and the rest of your body) will thank you.

First posted: May 17, 2006