Another Reason To Eat Your Veggies

Researchers have found that eating broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables may reduce a smoker’s risk of developing lung cancer.

This data was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s Seventh Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research. This is the first study of its kind to show broccoli having a protective benefit for smokers. Cruciferous vegetables would include: cauliflower, cabbage, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, and collard greens.

“Broccoli is not a therapeutic drug, but for smokers who believe they cannot quit nor do anything about their risk, this is something positive,” said lead author Li Tang, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. “People who quit smoking will definitely benefit more from intake of cruciferous vegetables.”

Researchers conducted a hospital-based case-controlled study with lung cancer cases along with controls based on smoking status. Cruciferous vegetables were considered, as well as raw versus cooked form. Using statistical calculations, researchers included smoking status, duration and intensity into the study.

Studying 948 lung cancer patients and 1,743 people without lung cancer, they found that among smokers, eating more raw cruciferous vegetables was linked to a lower risk of cancer.

While his study was only observational, previous research studies have shown that compounds called isothiocyanates from cruciferous vegetables could be linked to fighting cancer.

“These findings are not strong enough to make a public health recommendation yet,” said Li. “However, strong biological evidence supports this observation. These findings, along with others, indicate cruciferous vegetables may play a more important role in cancer prevention among people exposed to cigarette-smoking.”

It never hurts to eat more vegetables, right?