Could it be that fruit eaten in childhood has a lifelong protective effect? Of course, this would take a long time to find out. Thousands of families in England and Scotland were studied in 1937 and 1939 – and the children were followed for more than sixty years! The results were published in the March 2003 issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
Those children in the top 25 percent of fruit eaters in the study were 38 percent less likely to develop cancer throughout their lives, even after taking other risks such as tobacco into account. As little as 88.4 grams of fruit a day (the size of a small apple) had a significant protective effect.
Does the benefit of childhood- fruit-eating come from establishing good habits? (We do know that adult-fruit-eating protects against cancers.) Or is there a special benefit during childhood of getting the wonderful vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, isoflavones, coumarins, or glucosinolates found in fruits? (We do know that some exposures that occur only in developing children will influence them for a lifetime.)
I suspect that both are true. Either way, each bite of fresh fruit, especially organic fruit, protects against the DNA damage that can lead to cancer. Try berries on cereal or pancakes. Try bananas on oatmeal when the weather is cold. Try blended fruit in freezer-pops when it’s hot out. Dip apple slices in organic yogurt or serve them with organic cheese. Or plop fruit, ice, and yogurt in the blender for a healthy treat. Delicious and health-building at the same time – how fun is that!