#HopeForCancer: Fibre-rich diet in teenage could prevent breast cancer risk later

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While we pay a lot of attention to the protein and iron content of the meals of our children, how many of you keep a tab on the fibre content as well?

While we pay a lot of attention to the protein and iron content of the meals of our children, how many of you keep a tab on the fibre content as well?

If not, then you perhaps need to start now as a new study shows that women who ate more fibre in their teenage had a lower breast cancer risk than those who didn’t.

On World Cancer Day today, the Indian Society for Clinical Research (ISCR) said seven lakh new cancer cases emerge every year in India, killing over 3.5 lakh people and is expected to rise in the next 10-15 years. Which is why it is important for us to improve our diets and include foods that help prevent cancer.

The study findings

The study, which involved more than 90,000 women and was conducted over a period of 20 years observed the diets of women who ate the most fibre (about 28gm a day) and those who ate the least(15 gm or less). At the end of the study, it was found that those who ate more fibre were at a 16 percent lower risk of breast cancer and those 24 per cent lower risk of having breast cancer before menopause.

The researchers also stated that the reason for this could be the fact that fibre helps lower the levels of the hormone oestrogen, which is the reason behind many types of breast cancer.

"From many other studies we know that breast tissue is particularly influenced by carcinogens and anti-carcinogens during childhood and adolescence. We now have evidence that what we feed our children during this period of life is also an important factor to estimate the future cancer risk," said Dr Walter Willet, an expert on health and nutrition at Harvard's school of public health who led the study team.

The study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, also showed that for every extra 10 gm of fibre the breast cancer risk dropped by 13 percent. Besides, fibre from fruits and vegetables were the most effective.

Fibre-rich foods

Here are a few fibre-rich foods that you can include in your daily diet.

  1. Lentils: Lentils that form a huge part of an Indian diet are loaded with fibre. Include lots of chickpeas, split peas, mung beans and other pulses in your diet to up your fibre levels.
  2. Fruits and vegetables: Spinach, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas and pumpkin are some vegetables that are packed with fibre. In fruits, oranges, apples, water melon, melons, coconuts, mangoes are the best sources
  3. Cereal: Oats and other cereals also contain fibre, which is also easy to digest.

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