January 2013

Vegetable Fiber May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

A new study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that the risk of breast cancer may be lowered by eating vegetable fiber.

Dietary fiber, also referred to as roughage or bulk, is the part of a plant that cannot be digested or absorbed by the body. Adding fiber, or bulk, in the diet is thought to help keep the bowels regular and possibly treat or prevent certain diseases. Dietary fiber is found in grains, fruits and vegetables. There is no fiber in animal products such as meat, fish, eggs or dairy products.

The recent study used data on 334,849 women from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. The women were followed for 11.5 years, during which 11,576 women developed invasive breast cancer. Invasive cancer indicates the tumor cells have spread throughout the body, whereas noninvasive cancer indicates the tumor cells remain in the breast.

Participants answered a questionnaire regarding their diet. Researchers categorized the women into five groups depending on their level of fiber intake. When comparing the highest fiber intake group with the lowest fiber intake group, researchers found that the risk of breast cancer was reduced in the participants consuming the most fiber. Furthermore, this risk was statistically significant when only fiber from vegetables was included, and not fiber from fruit, grains and legumes.

Further research on this topic is warranted.

For more information about a high fiber diet, please visit Natural Standard's Health & Wellness Database.


  1. Ferrari P, Rinaldi S, Jenab M et al. Dietary fiber intake and risk of hormonal receptor-defined breast cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Feb;97(2):344-53. 
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 

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