How does diet impact breast cancer risk?

Dietary habits are often said to sway the risk of cancer. Now, a large long-term study confirms the role played by a diet rich in fruits and vegetables in decreasing the risk of breast cancer.

major study published in The BMJ earlier this year showed that people who integrate a lot of ultra-processed foods into their diet have a higher risk of cancer.

What this might suggest is that eating a healthful diet might work, to some degree, in a protective way.

In the past, some studies have claimed that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables could lower a person’s risk of breast cancer. Others, however, have argued that the evidence in favor of this association remains inconclusive.

But recently, a team of researchers from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, has conducted a large-scale, long-term study investigating in more detail the relationship between fruits and vegetables in a person’s diet and their risk of breast cancer.

This new study not only suggests that eating a lot of fruits and vegetables can lower breast cancer risk — and the risk of developing aggressive tumors, no less — but it also explains how much fruits and vegetables someone should ideally eat per day in order to offset risk.

“Although prior studies have suggested an association [between fruit- and vegetable-rich diets and cancer risk], they have been limited in power, particularly for specific fruits and vegetables and aggressive subtypes of breast cancer,” notes first author Maryam Farvid.

This research provides the most complete picture of the importance of consuming high amounts of fruit and vegetables for breast cancer prevention.”

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