Fiber foods

Foods high in fiber may reduce breast cancer risk by 8%, study finds

A diet high in fiber may reduce the risk of breast cancer, according to a new study. Photo by Steve Buissinne / Pixabay

April 6 (UPI) – A diet high in fiber may reduce a woman’s risk of breast cancer, according to a new study.

Regular consumption of high-fiber foods was found to reduce the risk of disease by 8% overall, according to an analysis of existing research published Monday in the journal Cancer.

The results were consistent for pre- and post-menopausal women, the researchers report.

“Our results provide research evidence supporting the American Cancer Society’s dietary guidelines, emphasizing the importance of a diet high in fiber, especially fruits, vegetables and whole grains,” said the co-author of the The study, Dr. Maryam Farvid, of the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, said in a statement.

The American Cancer Society’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Prevention do not recommend specific amounts of daily fiber intake, although they do suggest a diet rich in fruits and vegetables with every meal, bread of whole grains, pasta and cereals and brown rice instead of white.

Farvid and colleagues analyzed data from 20 previously published studies assessing fiber intake and breast cancer risk. A higher total fiber intake has been associated with an 18% lower risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women and 9% lower risk of postmenopausal breast cancer.

They also found that consuming soluble fiber was associated with a 10% reduction in breast cancer risk and that insoluble fiber appeared to reduce the risk by 7%.

Soluble fiber is found in oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits and vegetables. Insoluble fiber, which does not dissolve in water, is found in fruits and vegetables commonly known as “roughage”.

Although the researchers are quick to point out that the results “do not show that dietary fiber directly reduces breast cancer risk,” they do point out that it aligns with other advice for reducing disease risk.

“Our study contributes to the evidence that lifestyle factors, such as modifiable dietary practices, can affect breast cancer risk,” Farvid said.