A high fiber diet which is a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains during adolescence and young adulthood is associated with women having a much lower risk of developing breast cancer, according to a study published Monday.
But researchers said it offers some of the first strong evidence that fiber consumption is linked to breast cancer risk, and it hints that the teen years could be particularly important.
Most past studies have failed to uncover a correlation between fiber and breast cancer risk. But in just the past year, a few studies have suggested there may be some connection after all. Body composition is also important being overweight has also been linked to an elevated risk of breast cancer after menopause.
In the study, the researchers looked at data from more than 90,500 women ages 27 to 44 about what they normally ate, and followed them for 20 years. They also asked the women about their diets during high school to determine if there was a correlation between starting a high fiber diet at a young age.
Overall, the study found, women who had eaten a high fiber diet as young adults had a lower breast cancer risk. Those who’d been in the top 20 percent for fiber intake as young adults were 19 percent less likely to develop the disease than women in the bottom 20 percent.
Women with the highest fiber intake as teenagers also showed a reduced risk — 16 percent lower than women who’d eaten the least fiber as teens.
Those women did not consume huge amounts of fiber, either. On average, they were close to the recommended amount of fiber for women — 25 grams a day.
Visit Heart.org for more on the benefits of a high fiber diet.