Colourful vegetables help cut risk of breast cancer

October 26, 2010 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News, Women's Health

Colourful vegetables help cut risk of breast cancer
Need another reason to eat your veggies?  According to a new study, eating lots of carrots and cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage and broccoli could reduce breast cancer risk.

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.

Want to know more about which vegetables can help fight chronic disease?  Pick up Leslie Beck's book Foods That Fight Disease, a comprehensive guide to help you boost the nutritional quality of your diet.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.