Cigarette smoking causes more deaths worldwide than any other environmental factor.
Lung cancer leads a parade of other smoking-related cancers. Undoubtedly, the best way to reduce the disease and death that come from cigarettes is to just quit smoking. But there are other healthy choices you can make as well.
A diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of developing lung cancer by 27% in cigarette smokers. This information comes from a study of nearly half a million adults across 10 European countries, and was just published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
Almost exactly the same results were found 20 years ago, in a large study of 250,000 Japanese by T. Hirayama, where smokers who ate green and yellow vegetables on a daily basis had a 30% reduction in lung cancers.
This protective effect is not due to some “magic” compound in fruits and vegetables. More than one study has found that smokers who take beta carotene and vitamin E supplements (which are found in green and yellow veggies) actually have an increase in their risk of lung cancer. The protection comes from a symphony of chemical compounds that interact with each other in ways that science doesn’t yet understand.
In this study smokers with the least lung cancer had eaten between 23 and 40 different types of fruits and vegetables during the prior two weeks. Smokers with the most lung cancer ate less than 10 different types of fruits and vegetables.
Ellen G. White, a 19th century health reformer, correctly observed a century ago that, “In grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts are to be found all the food elements that we need.” (Counsels on Diet and Foods, 310)
The same author also recognized the harmful effects of tobacco nearly 100 years before the fact was validated by science: “Tobacco is a slow, insidious, but most malignant poison. In whatever form it is used, it tells upon the constitution; it is all the more dangerous because its effects are slow and at first hardly perceptible.” (Counsels for the Church, 103)