Fruits and vegetables high in beta-carotene, especially when eaten raw are associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer. There are exceptions, as research is now showing that carrots especially release more carotene, both alpha- and beta-carotene, when they are lightly cooked, but not mushy. According to research conducted by the University of Illinois, heat releases beta-carotene and protein better than chewing does. The best method for cooking is microwaving. Next best is stir-frying (make sure to use only a small amount of oil when stir-frying) followed by quick steaming. (Authors Anonymous, University of Illinois: Heat releases beta-carotene and protein better than chewing does, METLIFE, Health Beat Bulletin 2 (1): January 1995.)
In reviewing 156 studies of fruit and vegetable intake and cancer risk, Gladys Block, Ph.D., professor of public health at the University of California at Berkeley, found that 128 of these studies supported the protective effect of beta-carotene-rich foods. (Block G et al.: Fruits, Vegetables and Cancer Prevention, A Review of the Epidemiological Evidence, Nutrition and Cancer 18(1): September 1992.)
This was the most consistent relationship between diet and cancer they had found. In the Nutrition and Cancer article, Dr. Block analyzed the numerous studies that investigated the relationship of beta-carotene and other nutrients to cancer. Seventeen case-control studies of the role of diet in lung cancer were conducted in six countries and all suggested a protective effect of frequent fruit and/or vegetable consumption.
While it may seem difficult to consume five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, Dr. Block suggested that we eat at least one vegetable with our meals and some fruit as a snack. People, who eat more fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in the carotenes, usually have a lower risk of most cancers.
To date studies have been reported on the influence of caroteniods in foods. The studies seem to demonstrate that people who eat more foods rich in beta-carotene have a lower risk of cancer. On the other hand, the studies havent shown that taking beta-carotene supplements lowers cancer risk. The recipes in the back of this book and my other books give you many suggests for creative ways to include more BETA-CAROTENE rich foods in your diet.
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