Life-long consumption of high level of fruits and vegetables reduces tumor incidence and extends median lifespan in mice

Weimin Guo, Edwin F. Ortega, Dayong Wu, Lijun Li, Roderick T. Bronson, Sarah K. Boehm, Simin Nikbin Meydani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Epidemiological studies suggest that consumption of fruits and vegetables (FV) is negatively associated with the incidence of certain cancers and mortality. However, a causal relationship has not been demonstrated. Thus, we investigated the effect of life-long consumption of high level of FV on median lifespan, key biological functions, and pathologies in mice fed low-fat (LF) or high-fat (HF) diets and the underlying mechanisms. Methods: Using a 2 × 2 factorial design, 5 weeks-old male C57BL/6J mice were randomly assigned to one of four groups (n = 60/group): LF (LF-C, 10% kcal fat), HF (HF-C, 45% kcal fat) or each supplemented with 15% (w/w) of a unique FV mixture (LF + FV and HF + FV, respectively). Mice were euthanized when one group reached 50% mortality. Body weight and composition, tumor incidence, and death were monitored. Blood levels of lipids and pro-inflammatory cytokines were assessed. Results: After 21 months of feeding, HF-C group reached 50% mortality, at which time mice in all groups were terminated. HF-C had higher mortality (50.0%) compared to the LF-C group (18.3%, p = 0.0008). Notably, HF-FV had lower mortality (23.3%) compared to HF-C group (p = 0.008); there was no significant difference in mortality between HF-FV and LF-C groups. Tumors were found in all groups, and were predominantly present in the liver, followed by those of lung, intestine, and seminal vesicle. Tumor incidence in the HF-C group (73.3%) was higher than that in LF-C group (30.0%, p < 0.0001). HF + FV group had 23.3% lower tumor incidence compared to the HF-C group (p = 0.014). No significant difference in tumor incidence between the LF-C and LF + FV groups was observed. Long-term FV supplementation reduced systemic inflammation and blood lipids. Conclusion: We provide the first causal evidence that life-long intake of a diet, containing a high level and large variety of FV, decreases tumor incidence and extends median lifespan in mice fed a western-style high-fat diet. These effects of FV are at least in part due to reduced blood levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and improved dyslipidemia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1286792
JournalFrontiers in Nutrition
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • aging
  • fruits and vegetables
  • inflammation
  • mortality
  • obesity
  • tumor incidence
  • western-style high-fat diet


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