Here’s another good reason to load up your daughter’s plate (and lunch bag) with lots of fruits, veggies and whole grains: Eating high-fiber foods during adolescence and young adulthood may decrease a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, finds a new study in Pediatrics. In fact, with each additional 10 grams of daily fiber during young adulthood, breast cancer risk may be cut by 13 percent.
The study, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, looked at the food intake of women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study II. In 1991, more than 90,000 young adult women completed questionnaires about their food intake at the time. In addition, more than 44,000 of those women completed questionnaires about their food intake during high school. The researchers analyzed fiber intake and monitored the group for breast cancer incidence.
What they found: Women who consumed more dietary fiber during adolescence had a 16 percent lower overall risk of developing breast cancer and a 24 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer before menopause. Women who consumed more dietary fiber in young adulthood had a 12 to 19 percent lower breast cancer risk. Check out this produce perk: Fruit and vegetables offered the greatest risk reduction.
Breast cancer is strongly linked with high estrogen levels in the blood. Fiber-rich foods prevent the reabsorption of estrogen, thereby lowering levels of the hormone in the blood, and a possibly, woman’s risk for the disease.
Of course, fiber is beneficial for so many reasons—it has been shown to reduce the risk for obesity, heart disease and diabetes, and it may also help keep weight in check. Need some fun and fiber-rich snack ideas? Try these kid-friendly picks.