Eat the Rainbow!

With Summer drawing to a close, many of us are returning to school and work. It can be easy to let healthy habits slip as we get back into our busy routines. One of the healthy habits that we wanted to focus on for this week’s blog is fruit/vegetable intake. We know that eating vegetables and fruits can be helpful for preventing cancer and we now have new research showing that a high intake of vegetables and fruit can be helpful for cancer survivors as well. 

The latest evidence shows that people with ovarian cancer who ate more than 5 servings of vegetables and fruit per day had improved longevity. Similarly, a higher vegetable intake can enhance longevity among those with head and neck cancer as well. Those with oral or oropharynx cancer eating a high amount of veggies also had a reduced risk of recurrence! 

Interestingly enough, green-yellow and cruciferous vegetables may be the most protective when it comes to reducing the risk of cancer development. Some examples of these types of veggies include: 

  • Green/yellow bell peppers
  • Broccoli 
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale

Based on the above study, here are some specific nutrition recommendations for improved longevity for different cancer types: 

  • Gastric and prostate cancer: 1-2 servings per day of raw vegetables 
  • Colorectal cancer: 1 serving of leafy green vegetables/day
  • Breast cancer: consume higher fibre foods on a daily basis such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains

When it comes to fruits, aim for oranges, lemons and lime as these may be beneficial in the setting of several cancers. 

Note that a serving of vegetables is usually a 1/2 cup, except for leafy greens, where 1 serving is 1 cup. For fruits, the serving size would be one medium piece (about the size of your fist) or 1/2 cup cut up.

Overall, there is benefit across a number of cancer types with increased vegetable and fruit intake. Here at the CCNM Integrative Cancer Centre, we will be running a four week online nutrition program beginning Wednesday September 23rd, from 7:30pm to 8:30pm. During this series, we will discuss nutrition tips for people with cancer and creative ways to eat the rainbow. To register, visit our website at

Looking forward to seeing you there! 

Author: Dr. Sukriti Bhardwaj, ND

CCNM Integrative Cancer Centre Resident