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This Vitamin May Lower Your Risk of Common Cancers, New Science Shows

You may just want to pour yourself a glass of orange juice.
MEDICALLY REVIEWED Clipboard BY Cedrina Calder, MD, MSPH

The benefits of a well-rounded diet with plenty of vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables are manifold. Not only will you feel better—but these foods could also go a long way toward keeping you healthy as you age. 

New research from the journal Frontiers in Nutrition shows that consuming more of one particular vitamin could reduce your risk of many kinds of cancer and could even lower the chance of developing any cancer in general. 

Researchers found that vitamin C was associated with a lower risk of 11 different types of the disease: bladder, breast, endometrial, esophageal, gastric, lung, pancreatic, prostate, and renal cell cancers, as well as cervical tumors and glioma. Plus, vitamin C intake was also linked with lower total cancer occurrence. The study analyzed the results of 3,562 articles that examined the links between intake of the vitamin and incidence of a range of different cancers. 

Related: The #1 Best Juice to Drink Every Day, Says Science

In an interview with Eat This, Not That!, registered dietitian and nutritionist Gail Mayer, MS, RD, CDN, points out that in many of the studies included in this analysis, it's not clear how study participants were getting their vitamin C: from food or from supplements.

half blood orange

"Often, vitamin and mineral supplements don't provide the same benefits that we get when we consume those nutrients as part of a whole food," Mayer says. "Vitamin C comes from fruits and vegetables, which also contain fiber and countless other vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that benefit our health in a myriad of ways."

Mayer says that supplements are useful in a variety of ways, but "nothing can replicate the infinite bounty of phenomenal nutrition found in whole, colorful, unprocessed fruits and vegetables."

When it comes to reducing your cancer risk, it's also worth noting the benefits of taking a more holistic approach to your diet, says Dr. Cedrina Calder, MD, a member of Eat This, Not That!'s Medical Review Board.

"The best way to lower cancer risk is by eating a healthful diet inclusive of lean protein, whole grains, plenty of vegetables (especially leafy greens), fruit, and limiting processed foods," Dr. Calder suggests. 

For more on the positive effects of vitamin C, check out What Taking Vitamin C Every Day Does to Your Body.

Clara Olshansky
Clara Olshansky (they/she) is a Brooklyn-based writer and comic whose web content has appeared in Food & Wine, Harper’s Magazine, Men's Health, and Reductress. Read more about Clara
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