08/2/2011
Eating More Fiber May Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer

Get ready to eat more beans, whole grains, fresh vegetables, fruits and berries.  These healthy foods have a high fiber content, and are really good for you.  Now a study done in China suggests a link between eating plant fiber and a lower risk of developing breast cancer.  Women who consumed a good amount of high fiber plant foods had lower levels of estrogen - the hormone that fuels most breast tumors - had an 11% lower risk for breast cancer.

A high-fiber diet is good for weight loss, lower cholesterol, heart health, and diabetes prevention.  Dietary fiber can improve your bowel health and may reduce your risk for colon cancer.  Having regular amounts of fiber in your diet just makes you altogether healthier, so you're better able to resist diseases of many kinds.  A lower risk of breast cancer may be an added benefit of a high-fiber diet, so the study does not prove that fiber itself prevents cancer in the breast.  The researchers combined data from 10 different studies which covered women's health history over 7 - 18 years.  Risk factors such as alcohol use, excess weight, hormone replacement therapy, and family history of breast cancer were used to filter the data.  The bottom line was this: women who regularly consumed the highest amount of dietary fiber had the best health and the lowest rates of breast cancer.

The healthiest women in the study may have been slender on average, consumed a minimal amount of animal products, kept active, and started eating soy products before puberty. The combination of all these health-conscious habits may actually be the key to their resistance to breast cancer.  Many Americans and those on a western diet consume less than the recommended daily amount of fiber and focus instead on meat, dairy products, and sugars.  Watching your fiber intake and cutting back on meats, fats, and processed foods should be added to your self-improvement plan, along with regular exercise and avoidance of alcohol and tobacco.

The research was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by Jia-Yi Dong,  Ka He, Peiyu Wang, and Li-Qiang Qin.