New evidence suggests that diets full of processed meats, butter, fried foods and sugary sweets may increase the risk of breast cancer.
The findings, presented this month at the annual meeting of the American Dietetic Association, found that women who ate more of these inflammatory foods were up to 12% more likely to develop breast cancer.
Fatty foods and sugar can cause inflammation, while plant foods can help reduce them.
Researchers from the Catalan Institute of Oncology, the World Health Organization and Imperial College London looked at data from 318,686 women who participated in a European study on nutrition and cancer risk over a 14-year follow-up.
They found that foods that cause inflammation, a response to stress in the body, were linked to an increased risk of cancer. Diets with more whole foods and products have been linked to a lower risk.
The researchers determined the participants’ typical diet by asking them to fill out year-long food frequency questionnaires. They then rated the extent of the diet’s inflammation based on how often it contained certain foods.
Inflammatory foods put stress on the body by stimulating an immune system response to fight potential cell damage, according to the Mayo Clinic. If this continues over time, it can lead to a condition known as chronic inflammation, which can put stress on the body and increase the risk of disease and symptoms.
Anti-inflammatory foods help prevent cell damage by providing nutrients that the body can use to protect and repair itself. These include vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but also plant nutrients called polyphenols.
Fruits, vegetables, legumes, coffee and tea are all rich sources of nutrients and are considered anti-inflammatory. Evidence suggests that these foods help put stress on the body and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer.
Previous research has examined how certain foods or nutrients affect cancer risk. The latest study adds to what we know, according to Carlotta Castro Espin, study author and pre-doctoral fellow at the Catalan Institute of Oncology and the Belvetigue Biomedical Research Institute in Barcelona, Spain.
“People consume food rather than nutrients, so examining general dietary patterns, rather than individual components of diets, can lead to more accurate conclusions when analyzing associations with health outcomes such as breast cancer,” Castro Espin said in a news release.
Source: Business Insider