Diet and breast cancer risk

A plant-based diet can reduce the risk of breast cancer, according to a new study published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Researchers followed 91,779 current and retired California teachers for 14 years. Those who had a predominantly plant-based diet had a 15 percent reduced risk of breast cancer compared with those who did not include abundant fruits and vegetables in their diets.

The data showed a 34 percent decrease in the risk for a particular type of breast cancer, called estrogen and progesterone receptor negative, for those following a predominantly plant-based diet.

The researchers also found that a diet they called the salad and wine diet increased by 29 percent the risk of a different type of breast cancer, called estrogen and progesterone receptor positive.

The study divded the teachers into five diet groups:

  1. Plant-based diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables
  2. High-protein/high fat diet - as recommended by the GAPS , Paelo , and Atkins diets - high in meat and animal fats
  3. High-carbohydrate diet - you guessed it - pizza, pasta, beans
  4. Ethnic diet - in this study, it seems to have been a Mexican type diet rich in beans, rice, soy, soups
  5. Salad and wine diet - wine, champagne, fish, chicken, sea food, salad, coffee and tea (in other words, a few token vegetables in salads or salad sandwiches). Taking out the effect of wine drinking did not reduce the cancer risk, in other words, it does not seem to be the wine which was the cause of the increased risk but the lack of vegetables. Lettuce is simply not enough.

There is simply no doubt about it: a plant-based diet, that is a diet, very high in vegetables, with some fruits, is, and will always be the healthiest diet to reduce the risk of cancer and just about any other disease you can think off.

Here is a photo of our fridge on a good day - usually after the Sunday Farmer's market.

Note it is called a plant-based diet. If you eat your vegies, you can enjoy a little meat or fish and a glass of wine and it will still lower your risk of cancer and serious disease.

Ref: Link LB et al. Dietary patterns and breast cancer risk in the California Teachers Study cohort. Am J Clin Nutr 2013 98(6): 1524-32