Ladies, do you need another reason to cut back on high-fat food?  A 2014 article published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute assessed fat intake as a determining factor in developing breast cancer — which affects one out of eight women at some point in their lives. The association between dietary fat intake and breast cancer has thus far been inconsistent, but this current study is bringing light to the subject.

The large cohort study analyzed over 337,000 women living in ten European countries over a period of more than eleven years. Women were asked questions about their saturated fat intake and other risk-forming habits such as smoking, age, pregnancy history and body mass index.

What they found was that women with the highest intake of saturated fat (averaging 48 grams/day) had a 28% higher risk of developing breast cancer than those in the lowest intake group (15 grams/day). What’s more, they discovered that saturated fat boosted the chances of three of the most common types of breast cancer in the U.S. and Europe (HER2-, ER+PR+or ER+PR-). High total-fat intake (117 grams/day) was also associated with a 20% increased risk of ER+PR+ breast cancer compared to the lowest intake ( under 43 grams/day).

The 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that women not eat more than ten percent of their total calories from saturated fat per day. Let’s celebrate National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by turning awareness into action, so:

  1. Cut back on saturated fat by going meatless for one day a week. This change helps to meet the guideline, providing a 15% decrease in saturated fat.
  2. Make sure you are getting enough vitamin B6. Too little B6 could increase the risk of estrogen-related tumors. Boost your B6 intake by eating  bananas, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and cauliflower.
  3. Be sure to include celery, apples and parsley in your diet, these foods are top sources of apigenin, a phytochemical associated with reduced risk, as well as upping your intake of veggie proteins.

Published October 1, 2014