Elevated fruit consumption throughout adolescence and early adulthood corresponds to a lower risk of breast cancer, according to research published in BMJ.

In a prospective cohort study, Maryam S. Farvid, PhD, Takemi Fellow in International Health at the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues studied 90,476 premenopausal women between the ages of 27 and 44 to identify self-reported, incident cases of invasive breast cancer.

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During follow-up in 2013, 3,235 cases of invasive breast cancer were identified; 1,347 of those cases were among women who completed a questionnaire about their diet between the ages of 13 and 18. The researchers found that total fruit consumption during adolescence was associated with an overall lower risk of breast cancer. Total vegetable intake was not linked to a lower risk of breast cancer.

“The association with adolescent fruit intake was stronger for both estrogen- and progesterone-receptor-negative cancers than estrogen- and progesterone-positive cancers,” concluded Dr Farvid. “For individual fruits and vegetables, greater consumption of apple, banana, and grapes during adolescence and oranges and kale during early adulthood was significantly associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer.”


  1. Farvid MS, Chen WY, Michels KB, et al. Fruit and vegetable consumption in adolescence and early adulthood and risk of breast cancer: population-based cohort study. BMJ. 2016;353:i2343; doi: 10.1136/bmj.i2343. [Epub ahead of print]