Oktoberfest! Just what your liver needs, right? Well, your liver may take a hit this month, thanks to this popular 1800’s Bavarian festival marked by “slightly” above average beer consumption and unquestionably unhealthy food items. But October is also National Liver Awareness Month so do your liver a favor and up your veggie consumption this month too as new research indicates consuming vegetables lowers liver cancer risk by as much as 40-50%.

A recent China and U.S. study published in the journal Cancer Science looked at the diets of 132,837 Chinese men and women over a 5.5 and 10.9 year span, respectively. Diet was assessed by food frequency questionnaires (FFQs) and of the 267 identified incidences of liver cancer, noted after the first two years, FFQ analysis found that those in the highest quartile of vegetable consumption (4.4 servings per day) had a 42% lower risk of developing liver cancer compared to those in the lowest quartile of intake (2.3 servings per day). Further analysis showed consumption of specific groups of vegetables such as composite vegetables (including asparagus and lettuce), alliums (onions, garlic, scallions, shallots, leeks and chives), celery and legumes reduced liver cancer risk by 52%, 44%, 27% and 28%, respectively.

Never underestimate the other health benefits of a vegetable-rich diet which many studies have shown leads to reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and even stronger bones.

Published October 1, 2013