Human Health Effects of Fruit & Vegetables
Looking at the Value of Fruit & Vegetables in Disease Prevention
Skin Science Reporter recently interviewed Dr Hazel MacTavish-West, a senior
Some 250 delegates attended and presented papers from more than 20 countries around the World, including from the US, Southern America, India and Europe. Around 75% of delegates were academics, including economists, nutritionists, medical experts,
Topics covered included the value of fruit & vegetables in the human diet for disease prevention, the
More Than a Third of Cancers May be Preventable with Improvements to Diet
Skin Science Reporter (SSR): Dr MacTavish-West what important messages did you bring away from the Symposium?
Dr MacTavish-West (DRMT-W): Did you know that studies indicate that somewhere in the range of 27%-39% of cancers may be preventable simply by following a diet rich in fruit and vegetables?
SSR: It is not really surprising I guess, given that Humanity’s natural diet during our evolutionary period would have been very rich in fruits and vegetable components, and far lighter on processed carbohydrates, animal fats and proteins than the modern diet.
Simple Dietary Changes Could Make a Big Difference in Disease Prevention
DRMT-W: Yes - and in
DRMT-W: Research indicates that we should be eating around 600g of fruit & vegetables per day to make an impact on preventable diseases with the use of diet. That is in line with the “5 a day” message of the UK Health Authorities.
SSR: We weighed an apple, orange, banana, avocado and medium tomato, and the scales topped 700 grams, so it is not too difficult to hit this target.
UK Adult Consumption of “5 a Day” Falls Way Short of Guidance
DRMT-W: You say that, but the Symposium revealed that the average UK adult consumes only 2.8 portions of fruit & vegetables per day!
SSR: It is surprising that the fruit & vegetable message needs selling when these foods have the potential to make life both healthier and longer?
DRMT-W: You would think so, but it is complex. In the popular media there is so much conflicting evidence – people get confused. It was suggested by one delegate that the health message for fruit and vegetables in the diet might be usefully communicated in popular entertainment programmes – in formats that people are comfortable with and which they trust. But on a positive note, apparently children have a natural fondness for red berries, bananas, yellow fruits like peaches and apricots: any fruits which are energy dense, red in colour and sweet. Oh, and carrots as well.
SSR: Just as you commented about children liking sweet energy dense fruits, most adults have a liking for some fruits or fruit products?
DRMT-W: Yes, fruit juice is a good example …it is known to be intrinsically healthy and yet it is not subject to loads of health propaganda. Older people and women
Potential Value of Cabbage Family in Cancer Prevention
SSR: Different times, different health concerns: we seem to be more concerned today about cancer than say heart disease. Was there any reference to the benefit of fruit & vegetables on the basis of specific health risks?
DRMT-W: Research carried out in the UK suggests that the data supporting fruit & vegetable consumption and an associated reduction in cardiovascular disease risk, is far stronger than for cancer prevention, except for cruciferous vegetables [brassicas: cabbages,
Organic Versus Conventional Food Debate
SSR: You commented earlier that people get confused with all the conflicting evidence and opinion appearing in the media. Did the Symposium comment on the ongoing debate about the value of organic fruit and vegetables versus conventionally grown products?
DRMT-W: Yes this did come up from time to time. Rigorous studies of conventionally versus organically produced
SSR: Hazel, what are your conclusions coming away from this Symposium?
1. Eat more fruit & vegetables
2. Eat 30g nuts per day
3. A change in diet won’t cure existing health problems but it may prevent these occurring in the first place.
4. That cancer is less supported and discussed now in terms of effects of fruit & vegetable consumption than cardiovascular health, and perhaps more investigation should be done on the benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables for cancer prevention?
SSR: Thank you
Fresh Fruit & Vegetables Should Form Part of The Skincare Routine
The evidence from the recent Symposium in Avignon is clear: a healthy diet is essential to maintain optimum health. The health of the skin, the body’s largest organ, will also reflect the benefits of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables. Diet needs to be a component of the skincare routine along with thorough daily cleansing, safeguarding the acid tone of the skin, and using a suitable moisturiser to protect your skin from dry environmental conditions