Vegetables Decrease Breast Cancer Risk In African-American Women
Posted Oct 15 2010 6:07am
Fruits and vegetables are a vitally important part of a healthy well balanced diet. Most fruits and vegetables are nutrient rich, good sources of dietary fiber, and typically have low to moderate calorie levels. Research continues to show that fruits and vegetables appear to also have health benefits beyond their basic nutritional benefits. In fact, several research studies have reported that fruits and vegetables can help reduce breast cancer risk. However, the importance of fruit and vegetable consumption in specific populations and/or on specific forms of breast cancer is still under investigation.
One new breast cancer study published online a few days ago in the American Journal of Epidemiology reports on the potential benefits of fruits and vegetables on breast cancer risk in African-American women. In this breast cancer research study, investigators used a food frequency questionnaire to assess the dietary habits of nearly 52,000 African-American women who took part in the Black Women's Health Study . During the 12-year follow-up period, 1,268 cases of breast cancer were identified. The link between fruit and vegetable consumption and breast caner incidence was statistically analyzed. The breast cancer researchers reported
Total fruit, total vegetable, and total fruit & vegetable consumption was not linked to overall breast cancer risk.
African-American women who consumed at least 2 servings of vegetables per day had a 43% decrease in estrogen receptor negative/progesterone receptor negative (ER-/PR-) breast cancer compared to women who consumed less than 4 servings per week.
Higher levels of cruciferous vegetable (broccoli, collard greens, cabbage, etc.) consumption was linked to lower rates of overall breast cancer.
Similarly, lower breast cancer rates were observed with higher intakes of carrots.
This new breast cancer study continues to shed light on the breast cancer fighting benefits of getting enough vegetables in one's diet. This study is particularly interesting in respect to the incidence ER-/PR- breast cancers. ER-/PR- breast cancers are typically more aggressive, are associated with worse outcomes, and are more prevalent in African-American women compared to Caucasian women. Therefore, the results of this study suggest that eating at least 2 servings of vegetables per day is an important goal, not only for everyone, but for African-American women in particular. These research results also pointed out the breast cancer fighting benefits of carrots and cruciferous vegetables. Carrots are rich in beta carotene and falcarinol, while cruciferous vegetables are rich in sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. Several previous research studies have reported that these phytochemicals have breast cancer fighting properties. That is why carrots and broccoli (a cruciferous vegetable) are two of my favorite cancer fighting foods.