To reduce risk of all major cancers, how many servings of fruits and vegetables should women consume each day?
- Eight or nine
"To prevent cancer, you should eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but ideally eight or nine," says Linda Nebeling, Ph.D., R.D., the chief of the health promotion research branch of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and a nutritionist with the Institute's "5 A Day" program. ("Our name is a little misleading," she admits.) "They are our main sources of antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamins A, C and E, all of which help prevent the cell damage that can lead to cancer." Unfortunately, according to the latest NCI research, only 31 percent of women eat the minimum five daily servings. "It's not that hard to reach your quota," says Nebeling. "Have fruit with breakfast, a salad at lunch, vegetables with dinner and fruit for snacks." One serving equals one medium piece or one half cup of fruit, three quarters of a cup of 100 percent fruit juice, one half cup raw or cooked vegetables, one cup of leafy greens or one half cup of cooked peas or beans.