The researchers looking at data from the ongoing Black Women's Health Study, did not find a similar benefit from fruit intake.
Researchers noted their earlier work that showed a so-called "prudent diet" high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fish led to a lower risk of estrogen receptor-negative breast cancers among African American women.
The ER-negative form of breast cancer, which is insensitive to the hormone estrogen, is more common in this population than among white women. It is also more difficult to treat and more often fatal than estrogen-sensitive cancers.
To investigate further, researchers from Boston University tracked the diets and health of more than 50,000 African American women from across the U.S. for 12 years.
About 1,300 of the women developed new cases of breast cancer during that period, 35 percent of them ER-negative.
The researchers found that women who ate at least two servings of vegetables a day had a 43 percent lower risk of ER-negative breast cancer compared with women who ate fewer than four servings of vegetables each week.
Further, they identified certain types of vegetables that appeared to reduce the risk of all types of breast cancer, including broccoli, collard greens, cabbage and carrots.
Women who ate three or more servings a week of carrots, for instance, had a 17 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer than women who ate carrots less than once a month.
The results for all vegetables held after accounting for other potential breast cancer risk factors, such as physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption and education level.
The findings were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
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