Eating fruits and veggies might decrease women's risk of bladder cancer, according to a new study.
The research, published in The Journal of Nutrition, shows an association for women between high intake of yellow-orange vegetables and decreased risk of bladder cancer, as well as high intake of vitmains A, C and E and decreaesd risk of bladder cancer.
"Our study supports the fruit and vegetable recommendation for cancer prevention," study researcher Song-Yi Park, Ph.D., of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, said in a statement. "However, further investigation is needed to understand and explain why the reduced cancer risk with higher consumption of fruits and vegetables was confined to only women."
The study included data from 185,885 older adults who were part of the Multiethnic Cohort Study, which started in 1993. Over a 12.5-year period, 581 people developed invasive bladder cancer (of which 429 were men and 152 were women).
Researchers took into account known bladder cancer risk factors, such as age, and still found an association between produce consumption and bladder cancer risk. Specifically, the women in the study who consumed the most yellow-orange vegetables in the study had at 52 percent lower risk of developing bladder cancer over the study period, compared with people who consumed the fewest yellow-orange vegetables.
And bladder cancer risk was lowest for people who generally consumed the most vitamins A, C and E, as well as the most alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin and folate, the researchers said.
However, there were no associations between fruit, vegetable or nutrient intake and bladder cancer for men.
Aside from bladder cancer, carotenoids -- micronutrients that are found in colorful produce -- have been linked with decreased breast cancer risk in previous research.
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Not every step toward a more nutritious diet has to taste like one. Forget the steamed broccoli and try incorporating more <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/11/colorful-fruit-and-vegetables_n_1323881.html" target="_hplink">great-for-you greens</a> into your favorite meals you're already making. We asked the experts to share with us some of their favorite sneaky ways to get more greens. Here are some of their most drool-worthy suggestions.
Try pureeing greens and adding them to muffins, suggests <a href="http://elisazied.com/" target="_hplink">Elisa Zied</a>, MS, RDN, CDN. When paired with other flavorful ingredients, like blueberries or <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/chocolate-cupcakes-with-spinach-and-blueberries-260924" target="_hplink">chocolate</a>, you won't notice the <a href="http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=2236275" target="_hplink">spinach hidden in the mix</a>. "You won't even feel like you're eating vegetables," says <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heather-bauer-rd-cdn/" target="_hplink">Heather Bauer</a>, RD, CDN. This trick even works with <a href="http://family.go.com/food/recipe-281285-deceptively-delicious-brownies-t/" target="_hplink">brownies</a>! (Just remember this isn't a free pass to eat the whole pan.)
<a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/MyPlate-for-Moms-How-to-Feed-Yourself-Your-Family-Better/196841697040535" target="_hplink">Elizabeth M. Ward</a>, MS, RD, swears by greens in omelets, especially <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/17/more-green-superfoods_n_2868810.html" target="_hplink">kale</a>, which you can easily buy frozen and throw into the mix whenever you're in the mood to make breakfast.
As you're just about finished cooking your favorite noodle dish, around the time when you might typically add some fresh basil, try adding heartier greens to the mix, says <a href="http://www.appforhealth.com/about-us/julie-upton/" target="_hplink">Julie Upton</a>, MS, RD, CSSD. Spinach works particularly well, she says. Greens also work in lasagna, says Zied, or instead of basil in homemade pesto, says <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cheryl-forberg-rd/" target="_hplink">Cheryl Forberg</a>, RD. (You can even try the pesto as a yummy condiment to serve on sandwiches, she says.)
To change up your morning routine, try mixing spinach or kale into those homemade fruit smoothies, says Ward. A handful of leaves doesn't have to make your sip look -- or taste -- green!
There's no reason you can't add a little green to your favorite homemade slice. A handful of leaves can add a refreshing factor to that warm and gooey cheese. Upton suggests baking your dough with just fresh mozzarella. Then when it comes out of the oven, cover the entire pie with a mix of arugula, cherry tomatoes, olive oil and vinegar.
"When I'm making black beans (with tomato, garlic, onion, cumin, etc.), I love to stir in a couple cups of chopped, blanched greens like spinach, chard or kale at the end," says Forberg. "Adds great color, texture and flavor!"
Just about any green can be pureed to make a thicker soup, helping to camouflage a distinct health-promoting taste, says Bauer. Whipping up a greens-based soup or sauce is an especially good trick for the severely veggie-averse, she says, who might not even want to see vegetables.