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Fish Eating Dietary Pattern Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Posted Apr 08 2010 7:59am
While more and more research is exploring the potential relationships between eating habits and breast cancer risk, the results of these studies have been inconsistent.  Despite these inconsistencies, there is growing evidence that some foods and some dietary patterns might help reduce breast cancer risk.  For example, recent research suggests that breast cancer risk can be reduced by following a prudent dietary pattern or a Mediterranean diet pattern .

A new study examining this relationship analyzed the impact of 4 dietary patterns on breast cancer risk in over 35,000 women in the United Kingdom.  The dietary patterns in this study were defined based on responses to a food frequency questionnaire.  These dietary patterns were labeled as
  1. Vegetarians - consumed red meat, poultry or fish less than once per week
  2. Fish eaters - ate fish at least once per week, but no poultry or red meat
  3. Poultry eaters - consumed poultry at least once per week and may eat fish, but not red meat
  4. Red meat eaters - ate red meat at least once per week and might or might not consume fish or poultry
Analysis of the relationship between these dietary patterns in the women who developed breast cancer during the nine-year follow-up period showed that when all breast cancer patients were analyzed, a fish-eating dietary pattern was associated with a 22% reduction in breast cancer risk and a vegetarian-eating pattern was associated with a 12% reduction in breast cancer risk compared to a red meat-eating pattern.  However, neither of these reached statistical signficance.  When the women were divided by their menopausal status, fish-eating postmenopausal women had a statistically significant reduction in breat cancer risk of 40% compared to red-meat eaters.

The study investigators indicated that limitations in this study might have resulted in some of the statistically nonsignficant relationships.  These limitations included some possible overlap in the dietary patterns and an inability to look at differences in the amounts of key diet components eaten.  Despite these limitations, this study suggests that following a dietary pattern focused more on fish consumption or consumption of fruits and vegetables might reduce breast cancer risk in comparison to a diet focused on red meat.  This was especially true in postmenopausal women consuming a primarily fish-eating dietary pattern.  Overall, these results suggest that following a healthy eating pattern, which most professionals consider to be one rich in fruits, vegetables, and fish, might help reduce breast cancer risk.

To learn more about other some specific foods that might help reduce breast cancer risk, read my book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Caner at .
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