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Unforbidden Fruit

Research on the causes of cancer and chronic diseases generally focuses on adults, as they are much more likely than children to suffer from cancer. Childhood diet and lifestyle factors may significantly affect a person's risk for cancer later in life, however.

A survey was carried out in rural Britain prior to World War II among 5,000 children, assessing average weekly diets and the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed. More than 60 years later, researchers tracked down nearly 4,500 of these children to determine their current health status, whether they had developed cancer, and - if they had died - the cause of death.

The more fruit the subjects ate as children, the less likely they were to have any form of cancer later in life. Progressive fruit intake led to progressive decreases in cancer risk, with children who ate the most fruit 38% less likely to develop cancer as adults than children who had eaten the least fruit. Deaths from cancer also were clearly linked to eating less fruit in childhood. Vegetable consumption did not appear to reduce cancer risk, although the authors note that prior to WWII, people commonly cooked vegetables for extended periods of time, which we now know can greatly reduce the amount of nutrients in them.

Give your children an edge against the fight against cancer later in life by providing them with a healthy diet now. Feed them plenty of fruits and vegetables, being careful to only lightly cook them in order to preserve the nutrients within. Produce contains not only vitamins and minerals, but also other antioxidants that protect against free radical cell damage and can't be obtained from a pill. Talk to your doctor of chiropractic about other ways to keep your kids healthy, and check out


Maynard M, Gunnell D, et al. Fruit, vegetables, and antioxidants in childhood and risk of adult cancer: The Boyd Orr cohort. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2003:57, pp. 218-225.

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