Scientists in New York found that eating the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day might have no significant effect on the risk of getting cancer, it emerged Wednesday.

The study of almost 500,000 people in Europe who, on average, ate four portions of fruit and vegetables a day, found that there was a "very small inverse association" between their intake and risk of cancer.

For every two extra portions eaten, a person's risk of cancer falls by just three percent, the results published Tuesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed.

The team of researchers, led by Paolo Boffetta from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, analyzed data from 23 centers across Europe and compared the diets against the number of cancer cases between 1992 and 2000.

Researchers conducting the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer trial also found that eating a lot of fruit and vegetables was more beneficial for those who drank alcohol and smoked heavily.

The authors of the reports added that the results could be biased, as people who regularly ate many portions of fruits and vegetables were also more likely to take active steps to maintain their overall health.