Cancer Breast Cancer Prevention Print Does Eating Fruit Fight Breast Cancer? By Pam Stephan Updated July 08, 2019 Medically reviewed by Doru Paul, MD leonori/iStockphoto More in Breast Cancer Prevention Symptoms Causes & Risk Factors Diagnosis Treatment More Subtypes Living With Support & Coping Hormone Receptor Positive Breast Cancer Metastatic Breast Cancer Triple Negative Breast Cancer HER2 Positive Breast Cancer Survivorship Benign Breast Conditions View All Eating fruit daily may help reduce the risk of breast cancer or fend off a recurrence. In fact, one 2018 study that followed women over 30 years confirmed that regular consumption of fruits reduced the risk of breast cancer, particularly more aggressive subtypes. While fruit is well-known for its antioxidants—compounds known to fight cancer-causing free radicals, it also has other components that are thought to play a role in providing these benefits. Aside from its potential benefits for breast cancer, there is no doubt that fruit, especially fresh fruit, is good for your overall health, and, when part of a healthy diet, may help ward off heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and kidney stones, as well as cancers of the mouth, stomach, and colon. Breast Cancer-Preventing Properties Fruits may play a role in breast cancer prevention or treatment due to their: Phenolic effects: Natural phenolic compounds have been studied for a long time both for their chemopreventive (cancer reduction) effects and for their chemotherapeutic (cancer treatment) effects. These compounds appear to have a direct effect on cell cycle progression, and several types of phenolic compounds have been found to inhibit the proliferation (growth) of some cancers. (Phenols also have powerful antiseptic and antibacterial properties, and can act as nerve and immune system stimulants, which brings other health benefits.)Antioxidant activity: Since oxidative stress can cause damage to genetic material in cells that can lead to the development of cancer, fruits with antioxidant activity likely play a role in reducing risk.Antiproliferative effects: Many fruits appear to have antiproliferative activity, inhibiting growth of several types of cancer cells. Top Picks PhenolicEffects Antioxidant Activity Antiproliferative Power Cranberries Cranberries Cranberries Apples Apples Lemons Red grapes Red grapes Apples Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries Pineapple Peaches Red grapes Bananas Lemons Bananas Peaches Pears Grapefruit Lemons Bananas Peaches Oranges Oranges Pears Grapefruit Grapefruit Pineapple Other Components and Their Benefits In addition to its properties that may help thwart breast cancer, fruit also contains the following, which have other disease-fighting benefits: Dietary fiber: Fresh and dried fruits are a good source of dietary fiber. While you're snacking on that apple-cranberry-banana salad, you're lowering your cholesterol, reducing your risk of heart disease, and keeping your digestive system happy. Fiber from fruit helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis while giving you that feeling of fullness that helps you cut down on overeating. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.Folic acid: Folic acid, or folate, is necessary to the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body. These cells also remove waste products from your tissues. Premenopausal women and women who are in the first three months of pregnancy require an adequate supply of folate. Eating fruits and vegetables that are high in folate, or taking folic acid supplements, helps reduce your baby's risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly as they develop in the womb. Oranges are especially high in folic acid.Potassium: The electrolyte action of potassium helps keep your muscles healthy by maintaining good fluid levels and assisting with your metabolism. Fruits that are high in potassium include bananas, prunes, dried peaches and apricots, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon. Prune juice and orange juice are also fine sources of this nutrient. These options may help keep your blood pressure in the healthy range. Vitamin C: Oranges and other citrus fruits are high vitamin C, which is important for all of your body tissues. Vitamin C assists with tissue growth and repair, helps heal cuts and wounds, and keeps your teeth and gums healthy. The Best Diet to Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence Guidelines for Fruit Consumption When it comes to how much fruit you should eat, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends the following:Men: Two cups dailyWomen ages 19 to 30: Two cups dailyWomen over 30: One and a half cups dailyPeople who get more than 30 minutes of exercise per day may be able to consume more and stay within a desirable calorie range. Eating Fruit Eating fresh fruit conveys the most health benefits. The best approach is to eat a wide variety of choices. The deep colors of some fruits (as well as vegetables) are often conferred by the very compounds that may help fight cancer. If you need something more convenient, try pre-cut fruit that is packed in cans or jars without additional sugar. Dried fruits are another portable option and are available at most grocery stores. Frozen fruits can be kept on hand and used in smoothies, pies, or compotes. Pureed and juiced fruits, particularly canned and bottled juices, have little or no fiber but are still beneficial in other ways. Fruit Juice Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Get honest information, the latest research, and support for you or a loved one with breast cancer right to your inbox. Email Address Sign Up There was an error. Please try again. Thank you, , for signing up. What are your concerns? Other Inaccurate Hard to Understand Submit Article Sources Farvid, M.S. et al. Fruit and vegetable consumption and breast cancer incidence: Repeated measures over 30 years of follow‐up. Cancer Epidemiology 06 July 2018. doi: 10.1002/ijc.31653 Jafari, S., Saeidnia, S., and M. Abdollahi. Role of Natural Phenolic Compounds in Cancer Chemoprevention Via Regulation of the Cell Cycle. Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. 2014. 15(4):409-21. doi: 10.2174/1389201015666140813124832 Kunzmann, AT, et al. Dietary fiber intake and risk of colorectal cancer and incident and recurrent adenoma in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Oct;102(4):881-90. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.113282. Li, F., Li, S., Li, H. et al. Antiproliferative Activity of Peels, Pulps and Seeds of 61 Fruits. 2013. Journal of Functional Foods. 5(3):1298-1309. doi: 10.1016/j.jff.2013.04.016 United States Department of Agriculture. Antioxidant and Anticancer Activities in Fruits, Vegetables, and Other Natural Products. https://portal.nifa.usda.gov/web/crisprojectpages/0186990-antioxidant-and-anticancer-activities-in-fruits-vegetables-and-other-natural-products.html Continue Reading Foods to Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence Risk How You Can Prevent Colon Cancer What Foods Should You Eat to Prevent Colon Cancer? Does Green Tea Prevent Breast Cancer? What are PIK3CA Mutations in Metastatic Breast Cancer? Is There a Link Between Caffeine and Breast Cancer? Cancer Fighting Whole Grains Does Garlic Reduce Your Risk of Cancer? Does Eating Organic Fruits and Vegetables Help Prevent Cancer? How Having a BRCA Mutation Affects Breast Cancer Risk Can Vitamin D Supplements Defend Against Cancer? 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