Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables in adult life probably will not help women avoid breast cancer, according to a report published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Lead researcher Stephanie Smith-Warner, a scientist at Harvard's School of Public Health, explained that the report drew together for analysis the results of eight studies on the topic, involving 351,825 women.

Consumers were warned that the research should not stop healthy eating practice, and that people should continue to eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day.

Nutritionist Gloria Stables, from the National Cancer Institute, stressed that nothing in the research concluded whether a lifelong diet rich in fruit and vegetables could have a preventative effect towards breast cancer.