About The Buzz: Vegetables Decrease Risk of Liver Cancer?

May 13, 2015

TheBUZZ Vegetables Decrease Risk of Liver Cancer?


In a recent analysis of several studies, increased vegetable intake was associated with a decreased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer.1


In the past, liver cancer was attributable almost exclusively to hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), exposure to aflatoxin B1, and heavy alcohol consumption. Fruits and vegetables offer an incredible amount of health benefits. In recent years, more and more cases of liver cancer have cropped up that are not linked to these traditional causes. Instead, risk factors for liver cancer include fatty liver disease, obesity, diabetes and smoking. As our society has become increasingly sedentary, many diseases that are linked to obesity and physical inactivity are now being diagnosed like never before.

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) accounts for nearly 90% of primary liver cancer cases and is one of the most common cancerous growths worldwide. This year an estimated 33,190 adults (24,600 men and 8,590 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with primary liver cancer. Liver cancer is the tenth most common cancer and the fifth most common cause of cancer death among men, and the ninth most common cause of cancer death among women.1


The most effective means of preventing HCC are: leading a healthy lifestyle that includes more exercise and physical activity, less frequent smoking and drinking, and maintaining a healthy weight. Additionally, eating fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to keep your body healthy. While the protective role of these foods in cancer prevention is still inconclusive, the research to date demonstrates that eating vegetables can help your liver ward off HCC.

Researchers analyzed 19 studies that included over one million participants to explore the impact of vegetable intake on HCC. What they found is that with every half cup increase in vegetables in the participants’ diets, their risk of HCC decreased by 8%.


If you’re interested in reducing your risk of HCC, add eating vegetables to your to-do list. Researchers are constantly discovering new ways that vegetables and fruits help protect the body against diseases, and protecting your liver against HCC is yet another reason to add more of these nutritionally dense, vitamin- and antioxidant-filled foods to your diet.

8 Easy Ways to Add More Vegetables to Your Diet

  1. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal or eating occasion.
  2. Purchase seasonal produce to ensure freshness and reasonable pricing.
  3. Spice up holiday dishes with fruits and vegetables.
  4. Try a new method of cooking: sauté, bake, roast, stir-fry, grill, stew, boil, steam or blanch.
  5. Understand the most effective ways to store produce.
  6. Keep a container of washed and cut veggies on hand, along with a dip or two. Try carrots and peppers with hummus, broccoli with light ranch, cucumbers with yogurt dip.
  7. Keep it colorful – variety matters when it comes to eating veggies!
  8. Understand that all fruits & veggies matter – frozen, fresh, canned, 100% juice or dried veggies all count toward your daily vegetable intake. Dietary Guidelines for Americans


1 Yang, Y., D. Zhang, N. Feng, G. Chen, J. Lui, G. Chen, and Y. Zhu. (2014).”Increased Intake of Vegetables, But Not Fruit, Reduces Risk for Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Meta-analysis.” Gastroenterology, 147(5):1031-42. National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine View

2 Liver Cancer: Statistics. (2014). Cancer.Net. View

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