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This High-Fat Food Could Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk by 39%

By on September 27, 2013
While researchers for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co are working on getting drugs approved to treat breast cancer, a new study published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment says the solution for preventing breast cancer may be in a jar of peanut butter.

The study, which was led by associate director Graham Colditz of the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, is reportedly the first of its kind to study the effects of certain foods on a woman’s breast cancer risk starting from adolescence, emphasizing the need for good dietary habits early in life.

“These findings suggest that peanut butter could help reduce the risk of breast cancer in women,” says Colditz. He also goes to say that adolescent girls should consider snacking on nuts or peanut butter in lieu of more sugary treats, such as cookies or carbonated soda.

Other authors of the study, including researchers Catherine S. Berkey and Walter. C. Willett, echo Colditz’s recommendations.

“In conclusion, consumption of vegetable protein, fat, peanut butter, or nuts by older girls may help reduce their risk of BBD as young women,” say the researchers of the study in a written statement. “Previous investigations, of adolescent diet recalled in adulthood, found lower risk for benign breast disease (BBD) with higher intakes of vegetable fat and nuts during high school.”

Surveying a group of over 9,000 girls in the United States, researchers tracked the dietary habits of girls from adolescence to adulthood to see if they were diagnosed with a condition considered a risk factor for breast cancer, called benign breast disease. Researchers paid close attention to what they ate during their adolescence, acting on a hunch that certain foods could lower a woman’s breast cancer risk early in life.

The result? Those who ate peanut butter twice a week were around 40 percent less likely to develop benign breast disease, therefore lowering their risk of breast cancer. Those who opted for sugary sweets, however, didn’t fare so well.

Better yet, the results were still significant even for women who had a family history of breast cancer.

“Past studies have linked peanut butter, nut and vegetable fat consumption to a lower risk for benign breast disease,” says a report from Washington University. “However, participants in those studies were asked to recall their high school dietary intakes years later. This new study is the first to use reports made during adolescence, with continued follow-up as cases of benign breast disease are diagnosed in young women.”

As for ways to get your fill of peanut butter, researchers say you don’t need to go overboard–just replacing your favorite snacks with two to three servings of peanut butter each week is all you need to minimize your risk.

If you’re allergic to peanuts, however, there are other ways to incorporate the healthy fats found in peanut butter–such as opting for an almond butter or hazelnut spread instead.

Readers: What are some ways you like to incorporate peanut butter into your daily diet?

Sources:

Study: Peanut Butter Could Reduce Breast Cancer RiskSpringer.com
Press Release: Peanut Butter Consumption Linked to Lower Breast Cancer RiskWUSTL.edu

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