Eating more fiber rich foods in their youth can reduce the risk of breast cancer in women, new research suggests.
According to the lead author Maryam Farvid, visiting scientist at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, most previous studies that assessed the relationship between fiber intake and breast cancer risk being “not significant”.
She notes that none of these studies have analyzed the diet during adolescence and adulthood – a period that appears to be closely associated with risk factors for breast cancer.
To fill this research gap, the researchers analyzed data from 90,534 women who were part of the Nurses’ Health Study II.
Information on food intake was obtained using a dietary questionnaire completed in 1991 – when women were aged 27-44 – and every four years thereafter. In 1998, the women completed another questionnaire asking about their food intake in high school.
Farvid and colleagues analyzed fiber intake of women using data from the diet, and also evaluated the incidence of breast cancer among women.
Each 10 g of dietary fiber daily linked to a 13% lower risk of breast cancer
Compared with women who had low fiber intake in early adulthood, those with high fiber intake were found to be at 12-19% less overall risk of breast cancer.
Basic facts about breast cancer
- About 1 in 8 women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime
- This year, it is expected that about 40,450 women die of the disease
- There are currently about 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the US ..
The high fiber intake during adolescence was associated with a 16% lower risk of breast cancer overall and 24% lower risk of breast cancer before menopause.
In addition, the team found that the more fiber consumed in early adulthood, the lower the risk of breast cancer; 10 more g fiber consumed each day – the equivalent of an apple and two slices of whole wheat bread -. was linked to risk of breast cancer 13% lower
Fiber from fruits and vegetables is associated with the strongest reduction in risk of breast cancer.
While the team is not clear exactly why a diet rich in fiber appears to reduce the risk of breast cancer, which hypothesize that foods rich in fiber can help reduce high estrogen levels the blood; such levels are a major risk factor for the disease.
Based on their findings, the team suggests that young women may want to think about increasing your fiber intake in order to help reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Commenting on the results, lead author Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology John Frederick Stare and nutrition at Harvard, says:
“from many other studies, we know that breast tissue is strongly influenced by carcinogens and anti-cancer during childhood and adolescence. Now we have evidence that what we feed our children for this period of life is also an important factor in future cancer risk. ”
A diet rich in fiber can not only reduce the risk of breast cancer. A recent study by Medical News Today suggests that diet rich in fiber can decrease the likelihood of lung disease .