May 26: Fruity Friday

19th May 2006 at 01:00
This event is part of Cancer Prevention Week and aims to encourage people to eat more fruit and vegetables as a way of reducing the risk of cancer

Outline script

Later, the good news. First, the bad news. And the bad news is that more than a quarter of a million people are diagnosed with cancer each year - that's the entire population of a city the size of Wolverhampton or Nottingham. As many as 160,000 will die of this disease. One in three of us will be affected by some form of cancer in our lifetime.

Smoking isn't the only cause. Some foods of animal origin, particularly those high in fat, salt and sugar, make it easier for cancer to develop and progress.

The good news is that, according to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), up to 40 per cent of cancers can be avoided if we eat a diet rich in plant foods. Changes in our diet can prevent up to half the cases of breast cancer and three out of four cases of stomach cancer.

There aren't any "magic" foods that will prevent cancer. But eating a variety of vegetables, fruits, pulses, cereals and other starchy foods will help to reduce the risk.

They don't have to be fresh. Many fruits and vegetables are frozen immediately after picking, which preserves valuable vitamins. Frozen berries are ideal for adding to desserts or making smoothies. Frozen peas are an excellent source of vitamin C. Tinned chopped tomatoes are also a healthy choice. Baked beans are another good tinned option. Go for the low salt and low sugar versions.

If we eat the recommended five portions of vegetables and fruits each day we can reduce our cancer risk by up to 20 per cent. One portion means a large slice of melon or pineapple, a whole apple or banana, two whole plums or satsumas or a 150ml glass of pure fruit juice.

FOLLOW-UP

* Hold a Fruity Friday Breakfast. Younger pupils might be encouraged to wear clothes that are the colour of fruit.

* Organise a display or tasting of exotic fruits. Research their origins and the ways they reach our supermarkets.

* In previous years, some schools have held a Beat the Banana race where the competitors chase a runner dressed in a banana suit.

* For competitions, downloads and ways to obtain an information pack, visit www.wcrf-uk.orgfruity_fridayindex.lasso

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