Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies, Prevent Bladder Cancer

It seems like every other day or so I read another article that indicates that an increased consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with a reduction of some form of cancer. Today the article is about reducing your risk of bladder cancer.

The opening paragraph states, “Although the effect of fruit and vegetables on the risk of bladder cancer has been widely studied, little is known about their micronutrient components. Our aim was to investigate associations between minerals and vitamins and bladder cancer.”

I am always surprised that our government only suggests 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day when it seems so clear that they are the foods that are most healthy. Since we began consuming 10 or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day (about 6 months ago) neither my husband nor I have had a cold. Coincidence? Maybe. But I used to get every cold that came around and now I don’t. I think the increase in fruits and veggies has had a positive impact on my immune system.

The paper concludes with, “Our findings suggest further investigation of the effect of vitamin E, carotenoids, vitamin D, thiamin, and niacin on bladder cancer risk may be warranted. Future studies should focus on high risk groups such as heavy smokers and older individuals.”

Since I know you were wondering, or at least I was, below is a list of foods that contain vitamin E, carotenoids, vitamin D, thiamin and niacin:

Vitamin E
Sunflower Seeds
Wheat Germ
Soybeans, dried
Rice bran

Beta Carotene (carotenoids)
Apricots, dried
Peaches, dried
Sweet Potatoes, cooked
Collard Greens
Spinach, raw
Apricots, raw
Beet, greens
Squash, winter
Romaine lettuce
Spirulina (algae)

Vitamin D
The body manufactures vitamin D after exposure to sunlight by converting cholesterol to vitamin D. Most of the US isn’t at the correct angle to the sun to provided enough sunlight to get optimum vitamin D for 6 months of the year. If you don’t eat fish you should consider supplements. I will be writing a more thorough post on vitamin D later this month.

Thiamin (vitamin B1)
Brewers Yeast
Wheat Germ
Whole Grains

Niacin (vitamin B3)
Corn Grits (polenta)
Potato, baked with skin
Corn, yellow
Sweet Potato

After reading the article and considering the food sources that are healthy I will be continuing to make certain that we eat a variety of the foods listed above. Other than the mango and cantaloupe we consume all the theses regularly and will continue to do so.


  1. This list makes me feel even better about my choice to live a vegetarian lifestyle. I consume almost all of those items regularly as well. I wonder what the rate of consumption variance is for meat eaters vs non-meat eaters.

  2. Heather,

    I really believe it is easier to be healthy as a vegetarian since you aren't filling up on meat you have more room for nutrient dense foods. When we ate meat we definitely ate fewer fruits and veggies.


  3. Thanks for compiling this list...many of these foods are a big part of my daily life, so that's good!

  4. Anna,

    Glad you liked the list.


  5. Thank you for this, Alicia (and for the other posts you make!). As a long-time (over 30 years) vegetarian and recent vegan (about 6 weeks), it is always good to get reminders of how eay it is to slip into complacency. I can see from your list that I virtually ignore the Thiamine list - will amend my wicked ways. :)

    Thank you again,

  6. Helen,

    I am glad I could share something you found useful. I agree it is very easy to get into a food rut and miss out on important nutrients.

    Congratulations on becoming vegan! I feel so much better since we made the switch. I hope you experience the same health benefits we have.

    Thanks for commenting,

  7. We regularly eat everything on your list except soybeans and brewers yeast.
    I agree with you that without the meat, there is so much more room for nutrient dense foods. I also pay attention to how my body feels, and it feels so much better when I'm getting my 9-11 a day:)

  8. Janet,

    Brewers yeast is something I started adding to juices and smoothies (in small quantities) back in the early 80’s. I don’t use it as regularly as I should though. Sounds like I should do a research on this to remind me why I have it in the pantry. Sometimes I buy things and use the for so long I forget why.

    I keep the soybeans around for soy milk, but they can also be used like any other bean if you are interested. The taste of cooked dried soybeans is very mild.


  9. I'm curious why you don't eat mango and cantaloupe, are they too sweet? I have both in my refrigerator right now.

  10. Laura,

    We do eat both mango and cantaloupe just not regularly.

    My husband doesn't the texture of mango so I don't buy it often.

    Cantaloupe is something that I buy when it is in season locally. That was the only reason we weren't eating it when I wrote this post.

    Great question, thanks for asking. I should have been more clear on that.



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