Increasing evidence indicates that dietary fiber and fat affect a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.
According to a recent study, raising fiber intake from 15 to 30 grams per day reduced blood estrogen levels, an important factor contributing to the development of breast cancer. Fiber plays another critical role — fiber helps lower fat levels in the blood, by encouraging elimination of fat in the stools.
Unfortunately, most of us do not get enough fiber in our diet. The average person in the U.S. eats only 15 grams of fiber per day, even though 30 grams daily is recommended for health. Excellent sources of fiber include:
Cooked whole grains
Garbanzo and kidney beans
Pears, berries, and dried figs
For at least two decades, we have known that total fat intake is strongly associated with increased risk of breast cancer. New research confirms that saturated and polyunsaturated fats are the prime culprits. Both of these types of fats are easily oxidized into “free radicals,” which may account for the potentially carcinogenic properties of saturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Saturated fats are found in animal products such as meat and poultry, dairy foods (e.g.: whole milk, cheese, butter, and ice cream), and eggs. Coconut, palm and cottonseed oils are the only plant oils that are saturated. Polyunsaturated fats are high in corn, safflower, and soy oils.
Whenever possible, try to use monosaturated fats (such as olive and canola oils) instead. Unlike saturated and polyunsaturated fats, these “good” monosaturated fats have no association with increasing cancer incidence. Furthermore, monosaturated fats have a protective effect against heart disease.