Healthy plant-based diet may cut breast cancer risk

Adherence to a healthful plant-based food diet is associated with reduced risk of breast cancer for postmenopausal women, according to a study presented during Nutrition 2022, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, held virtually from June 14 to 16.

Sanam Shah, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., from Paris-Saclay University, and colleagues examined the association between long-term adherence to a plant-based diet and breast cancer risk among postmenopausal women from the E3N cohort (65,574 women; mean age, 52.8 years) who were followed from 1993 to 2014. Self-reported dietary intake at baseline and during follow-up was used to develop scores for healthful (hPDI) and unhealthful (uPDI) plant-based diets; these were studied as a continuous variable and in quintiles.

The researchers identified 3,968 incident breast cancer cases during a mean follow-up of 21 years. Adherence to hPDI was associated with reduced breast cancer risk (hazard ratio, 0.86 for quintile 5 versus 1). Increased estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer and lobular carcinoma were seen in association with adherence to uPDI (hazard ratio per one standard deviation increase, 1.05 and 1.12, respectively).

“These findings highlight that increasing the consumption of healthy plant foods and decreasing the consumption of less healthy plant foods and animal foods might help prevent all types of breast cancer,” Shah said in a statement.

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