Fruits and vegetables in the daily diet have been strongly associated with reduced risk for the major forms of cancer afflicting high-risk countries such as the United States. In populations across the world where intake of these foods is high, the prevalence of the most common cancers is lower. Basic research into the mechanisms that explain how fruits and vegetables provide cancer prevention goes well beyond the notion that these foods provide only a rich source of dietary fiber. Some components of fruits and vegetables are certainly strong antioxidants and function to modify the metabolic activation and detoxification/disposition of carcinogens, or even influence processes that alter the course of the tumor cell. Further research will continue to pinpoint the active and cancer-preventive elements of the diet. Current research should provide a dietary prescription for the next decade, and influence the development of designer produce enriched in the cancer prevention attributes provided by nature.
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