The research is pretty clear that staying a healthy weight lowers postmenopausal women’s risk of breast cancer. Now a new study suggests that regularly eating a diet high in the foods that help you stay at that healthy weight – fruits, vegetables and other plant foods – may by itself lower risk of breast cancer.
The link to lower risk was most pronounced for tumors that are not fueled by hormones. These breast cancers are less common, but more challenging to treat.
The study was published yesterday in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Going into the study, researchers looked to get away from individual foods and nutrients and focus on dietary pattern, which looks at the overall types of foods we regularly eat. Almost 100,000 women answered questionnaires about what they ate, along with genetic and other risk factors. Five dietary patterns emerged:
1) plant based: lots of fruits and vegetables
2) high-protein, high-fat: lots of meat, eggs, butter and fried foods
3) high carbohydrate: lots of pasta, bread and convenience foods
4) ethnic: lots of legumes, soy-based foods, rice and dark green leafy vegetables
5) salad and wine: high in lettuce with low-fat dressing, fish, wine, coffee and tea Continue reading