Eating more fruits and vegetables, long considered a major part of a healthy lifestyle, may also help lower the risk of a type of breast cancer that is generally difficult to treat.
Data from 20 studies on women who were followed by researchers for as long as two decades suggests that there may be a link between adding fruits and vegetables to one’s diet and having a lower risk of estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer.
A research team headed by Seungyoun Jung, Sc.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health, saw the correlation for this aggressive form of breast cancer, but not necessarily for the incidence of breast cancer overall, according to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Cases of estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer, which do not respond to circulating estrogen, account for 15 to 20 percent of all breast cancer cases.
While the findings are not conclusive, they bolster the widespread belief that following a healthy lifestyle, including a diet filled with nutritious foods, can reduce the risk of certain cancers and other medical conditions.
Stephanie Bernik, M.D., chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told Medline Plus that the study “adds some evidence that a healthy lifestyle can perhaps help decrease the risk of breast cancer.”
According to the National Cancer Institute, a number of laboratory tests have shown that nutrient-rich cruciferous vegetables, also known as “dark greens,” may hinder the development of cancer in the bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung, and stomach. They include such vegetables as broccoli, cauliflower, radishes and greens such as arugula and kale.
Dietary supplements such as Ultimate Reds from Dr. Newton’s Naturals offer another way for people to add the benefits of such foods to their diets. Ultimate Reds have the antioxidant value of 20 fruits and vegetables.