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Fiber for breast cancer prevention

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Breast cancer prevention efforts and awareness can help you reduce your risk  of breast cancer.

Steps such as self-tests, routine check-ups and adjusting your lifestyle can  make a difference. For example, increasing your fiber intake may do more than  just support intestinal health; it may also decrease your risk of breast cancer.  A recent report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows  that increased dietary fiber consumption protects against the risk of breast  cancer. Women who consumed the most fiber averaged an 11 percent lower risk of  breast cancer compared to those who ate the least.

The reviewers evaluated data from 10 published studies of breast cancer risk  and dietary fiber intake. More than 700,000 study participants were involved,  and the studies looked at women’s diets and cancer risks from a period of 7 to  18 years.

Overall, the report found an 11 percent reduced risk of breast cancer for the  highest compared to the lowest intake of dietary fiber. Variables such as  alcohol use, hormone replacement therapy, body weight and family history of  breast cancer were taken into account. The report also showed that for each 10  grams of additional fiber a woman eats daily, her risk of breast cancer drops by  approximately 7 percent.

The researchers concluded that, “This meta-analysis provides evidence of a  significant inverse dose-response association between dietary fiber intake and  breast cancer risk,” suggesting that a healthy, daily dose of fiber supplements could support breast cancer prevention efforts.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines  for Americans, most Americans don’t get enough fiber.

The guideline states that dietary fiber is a nutrient of public health  concern in American diets and suggests choosing foods that provide more fiber.  The guidelines recommend that women eat at least 25 grams of fiber per day and  men eat at least 38 grams, but the usual intake is only 15 grams per day.  High fiber supplements can help meet optimal daily fiber amounts.

References:

Dong JY, He K, Wang P, Qin LQ. Dietary fiber intake and risk of breast  cancer: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. American Journal of  Clinical Nutrition. 2011 September;94(3):900-5. Epub 2011 July 20.

U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human  Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th Edition, Washington, DC:  U.S. Government Printing Office, December 2010.

by Sarah Eliason Health Sciences & Educational Services Dept.