Fiber’s Impact on Breast Cancer Rates

A large study of postmenopausal women revealed that when women increased their intake of fiber they could guard against certain type of breast cancer.

Here’s what the experts learned:

  • A diet rich in fiber affected only hormone receptor-negative tumors.
  • The kind of fiber women consumed made a difference.

Types of Breast Cancer Tumors
Breast cancer tumors are either hormone receptor-positive or hormone receptor-negative. Hormone receptor-positive cells are fuelled by the female hormones estrogen and progesterone, while hormone receptor-negative cancer cells are not.

What Foods Contain Fiber?
All plant foods contain fiber to varying degrees but only soluble fiber affect the receptor-negative tumors.

Soluble fiber, as the name suggests, dissolves in water. When it reaches your stomach, it forms a gel and slows the rate of digestion and absorption. This is how soluble fiber controls blood sugar and insulin levels which have a direct impact on breast cancer cells.

Which Foods Are Rich in Soluble Fiber?
Oats, oat bran, psyllium-enriched breakfast cereals, barley, legumes, citrus fruit, and apples all contain generous amounts of soluble fiber.

Other Ways to Combat Breast Cancer
Researchers further suggest that paying attention to the following dietary factors may also guard against breast cancer:

Carbohydrates

  • Slow burning, or low-glycemic carbohydrates carry a lower risk of developing breast cancer and include the following foods: Grainy breads, brown rice, pasta, sweet potato, bran cereals, steel-cut or large flake oatmeal, and most types of fruit.
  • Fast buring, or high-glycemic foods such as white bread, refined breakfast cereals, and sugary drinks elevate the glucose and insulin levels that increase your risk of developing breast cancer.

Flaxseed
Natural compounds in flaxseed bind to estrogen receptors on breast cells and block the action of the body’s own estrogen. By adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed to hot cereal, yogurt, smoothies, applesauce, and baked-goods, you can reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Low-Fat Diet
Studies have shown that reducing fat intake can dramatically increase the survival rate of women diagnosed with estrogen-negative breast cancer.

Stick to skim milk, no fat yogurt and cheese with less than 15 per cent fat. Lean, skinless poultry, fish and beans are also a better bet than meat. Fats and oils should only be added when necessary.

Vegetables
Your body can eliminate carcinogens by regulating detoxification enzymes in the liver. Phytochemicals that are found in some vegetables help this process.

Bok choy, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, broccoflower, broccolini, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, rutabaga and turnip all contain phytochemicals.

Alcohol
Some experts suggest that alcohol may cause chemical reactions in your body and:

  • Make breast cells more vulnerable to the effects of carcinogens
  • Affect the liver’s processing of substances
  • Inhibit the ability of cells to repair faulty genes
  • Increase estrogen levels

Weight Gain
Excess weight has been clearly linked to breast cancer. Obesity can increase circulating estradiol, the most potent form of estrogen in the body.

Several decades of scientific study have produced guidelines that would reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. Although the disease is more prevalent in older women, it’s never too early to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

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