High-Fiber Foods May Ward Off Breast Cancer
Here is yet another reason to get excited for Thanksgiving dinner: Eating fiber-rich foods, such as Brussels sprouts, apples, sweet potatoes and greens, can help protect against breast cancer. A review of 10 studies found that higher fiber consumption is linked to a reduced risk of this dreaded illness that afflicts one out of every eight women in America. Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that a dietary intake of 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day can lower estrogen levels, a factor involved in the early development of breast cancer.
Fiber Fights Breast Cancer in Three Ways
- Fiber, a dietary constituent of whole grains and seeds as well as fruits and vegetables, helps in different ways. Most importantly, as fiber foods are natural plant foods, they contain an array of anticancer phytochemicals. These include isothiocyanates from cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage; flavonoids from berries; organosulfur compounds from onions and garlic; inositol pentakisphosphate from beans; and lignans from flax, chia and sesame seeds.
- Aside from the fact that fiber is a part of foods that are nutrient-dense, it has some properties in itself that can reduce the risk of breast cancer. It reduces after-meal elevation in glucose, a benefit that is valuable because raised glucose levels stimulate physiological processes that can lead to cancer growth. The consumption of foods with a high dietary glycemic index, such as white rice, white bread and processed items, has been associated with an increased breast cancer risk in some research.
- A third way that fiber can help is by reducing exposure to estrogen, a hormone linked to a higher risk of breast cancer. Fiber binds to estrogen in the digestive tract and speeds its removal, thus hindering its reabsorption into the body. In addition to this benefit, soluble fiber transforms estrogen into a less dangerous hormone. Sources of soluble fiber include chi seeds and flax seeds along with oats and beans.
Fiber From Fruits and Vegetables Is More Helpful Than That From Grains
While all fiber is beneficial for health, a 2011 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that fiber from fruits and vegetables can help fight breast cancer better than that from whole grains. When the different types of fiber were compared, a high vegetable fiber intake was linked to a 52 percent risk reduction and a high fruit fiber intake was linked to a 46 percent risk reduction. This particular research found no risk reduction for grain fiber.
In a February 2013 study that was part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, scientists evaluating more than 300,000 women found only vegetable fiber was linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer.
Flax Reduces Breast Cancer Risk
Flax is not only high in fiber but it also is rich in lignans and other nutrients that can help fight this disease. In a study published in the Sept. 8, 2013 issue of Integrative Cancer Therapies, scientists found flax may protect against primary breast cancer. They also found it may reduce mortality in breast cancer patients.
High Fiber Meal Ideas
Soups made with lentils or black beans are high in fiber. An alternate idea is salads containing a variety of fresh vegetables, such as spinach, tomatoes and cucumbers, with black beans added. Exchange starchy, low-fiber carbohydrates like pasta and white rice with side dishes like squash, corn on the cob or baked potatoes. Eat whole grain bread instead of the white variety.
Popcorn or sliced fruit make a high-fiber snack. For a fiber-filled beverage, make a fruit smoothie adding flaxseeds to the blender.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.