Hi, Wild Heart!

As I’ve discussed before, breast cancer is a devastating disease, impacting a million women every single year. 

It is so important that we know and address any risk factors we can—and researchers may have discovered another one.

Fiber.

Are you getting enough? A new study from Yale University suggests that increasing intake of soluble fiber in pre-menopausal women may reduce breast cancer risk as much as 62%. When they studied the same thing in younger women, whose tumors were most difficult to treat, odds appeared to be 85% lower. Wow.

Let’s understand exactly where these results come from, though. These studies compared women with breast cancer to those without in something called a case-control study, where researchers asked each group to self-report about their diets. Those with breast cancer reported eating way less plant foods (which, as you know, are nature’s beautiful and bountiful source of fiber).

That’s not proof that fiber was the protective element in the healthy women’s diets. It’s possible that the lower risk of breast cancer in this study was actually a result of different nutrients. A diet high in fibrous plant foods would also presumably be high in folate, vitamin C and E, phytochemicals and more. 

And you know what else? It’s likely that the women eating more plants were also eating less animal products. 


So we’re looking at a lot of potential factors here.

On the topic of eating less animal products, let’s talk about an analysis of a dozen of these studies published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which suggests a statistically significant link between breast cancer risk and saturated fat intake. Saturated fat, of course, is found in high concentrations in cheese, chicken and other animal products…

In addition, this same analysis strongly suggests that higher fruit and vegetable consumption has a protective effect against breast cancer. Each additional twenty grams of fiber in a woman’s diet corresponded to a 15% drop in risk.

Remember, we’re still talking about case control (self-reported) studies here, so we’d want a long-term study following originally healthy women and reporting their diets to get more evidence. And by 2012, we had more than 15 of them! 

Guess what, beautiful mama? They found the same thing. With every additional 10 grams of fiber in a woman’s daily diet, these studies suggest a corresponding 7% decrease in breast cancer risk. 

And there doesn’t seem to be a limit. The more fiber we eat, the lower corresponding risk.

Considering most people eating a SAD (Standard American Diet) hardly make 15 grams a day, I’d say we have a lot of fruits and veggies to get to, wouldn’t you? A vegan diet averages 47 grams of fiber per day, while a high raw vegan diet averages nearly 60.

That sounds like a pretty good argument for giving the plant based thing a try, hey?

So, totally want to go plant-based, but scared to begin? Wild Nutrition: Your 30-Day Revolution to Plant-Based Vitality makes it so simple and so delicious, you’ll never look back—check it out now!

xx

Donna

Resources:
D. Aune, D. S. M. Chan, D. C. Greenwood, A. R. Vieira, D. A. N. Rosenblatt, R. Vieira, T. Norat. Dietary fiber and breast cancer risk: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Ann. Oncol. 2012 23(6):1394 – 1402
B. Farmer, B. T. Larson, V. L. Fulgoni III, A. J. Rainville, G. U. Liepa. A vegetarian dietary pattern as a nutrient-dense approach to weight management: An analysis of the national health and nutrition examination survey 1999-2004. J Am Diet Assoc 2011 111(6):819 – 827
C. Chitchumroonchokchai. Dietary Fiber and Phytate Intake of Strict Vegetarian Thai Adults. Asia Pac J Public Health 1995 8: 10 1995 8(NA):10-13
Q. Li, T. R. Holford, Y. Zhang, P. Boyle, S. T. Mayne, M. Dai, T. Zheng. Dietary fiber intake and risk of breast cancer by menopausal and estrogen receptor status. European journal of nutrition 2012 NA(NA):NA
J.-Y. Dong, K. He, P. Wang, L.-Q. Qin. Dietary fiber intake and risk of breast cancer: A meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2011 94(3):900 – 905