Can Dietary Fiber Help Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer?

* the opinions expressed are those of the author and not Nutrition Ink.

Breast Cancer is the most common cancer among women and the prevalence is rising over time. Nutrition influences cancer etiology in about 35% of cancer cases. Preventative dietary advice often includes reducing intake of alcohol, red meat, and fat and increasing intake of fiber and vitamin D from various food sources1. What is Dietary Fiber? Dietary Fiber is a nutrient that is not digested by gastrointestinal enzymes. It is found in vegetable, fruits, whole grains and legumes. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Fiber for men is 30-38 grams and for women is 25 grams a day for 18-50 years old and 21 grams a day if a woman is 51 and older.

Recently, there have been several studies that observed a significant inverse association between dietary fiber intake and risk of breast cancer. A meta-analysis of a large cohort study (16,848) showed that high dietary fiber intake is a protective factor for breast cancer compared with low intake; every 10 grams per day incremental increase in dietary fiber intake was associated with a 7% reduction in risk of breast cancer1. Dietary Fiber from different sources of food has shown to have different protective effects.

Fiber intake during adolescence was inversely associated with proliferative benign breast disease (BBD), which is thought to reflect an early step in breast carcinogenesis. Women with the highest fiber intake had a 25% lower proliferative BBD risk than women with the lowest intake2. Among all women, early adulthood total Fiber Intake was associated with significantly lower Breast Cancer risk.

The American Cancer Society states that there is a possible link to between diet and Breast Cancer, but this is still an active area of study. Some studies have suggested that a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy products might help lower the risk of breast cancer3. A diet low in fat, processed, and red meat, and high in fruit and vegetables can have many health benefits, including lowering the risk of some other types of cancer.

Consumption of foods higher in fiber can help reduce breast cancer risk, not prevent it. Also, eating a healthy diet can have benefits associated with other cancers, along with living a healthy lifestyle. The importance of adopting these foods choices during childhood and early adult life can mitigate and lower your risk. So, in order to help stay healthy and endure a healthy lifestyle be sure to get all the nutrients that you need and eat a little extra fiber!

References:

  1. Kotepui M (2016). Diet and risk of Breast Cancer.

  2. Farvid M.S, Eliassen H, Cho E, Liao X, et al. (March 2016). Dietary Fiber Intake in Young Adults and Breast Cancer Risk.

  3. American Cancer Society. Breast Cancer Risk and Prevention. Retrieved from. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/risk-and-prevention/can-i-lower-my-risk.html

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