You have probably heard that it is a good idea to eat more fibre.
Depending on your age and gender, you should be getting anywhere between 25 and 38 grams every day. If you are a teenage girl, this advice may be even more important than ever.
A recent study published in Pediatrics indicates that eating lots of high-fibre foods during the teen years can make a real difference when it comes to reducing the risk of developing breast cancer later in life.
Researchers surveyed 44,000 women on their eating habits in high school. These same women answered similar dietary surveys every four years throughout the long-term study.
The study concluded that those who had consumed large amounts of fibre – at least 28 grams every day – had a 24 per cent lower risk of developing breast cancer prior to menopause. The women who ate small amounts of fibre – only about 14 grams every day – had a higher chance of developing breast cancer. The women who ate high-fibre diets reduced their lifetime risk by 16 per cent.
A number of studies have already shown that a diet rich in fibre is good for your health in many ways. Moreover, when you get enough fibre, you feel better overall. Fibre can help to prevent constipation, protect against colorectal cancer, and might even reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Many studies are also showing us that high-fibre diets can help to combat obesity.
Why is there a link between fibre and a reduced risk of developing breast cancer? There is some evidence that dietary fibre helps to reduce the levels of circulating oestrogen in the body. High levels of this hormone have been linked to breast cancer and other types of cancer in women.
This study could well give people yet another reason to add more fibre to their diets, especially teenage girls.
Now the focus will be on communicating the importance of eating more fibre to teens. It is likely to be a challenging task, and education will play a big role. Young female teens need access to better information about breast cancer, proper eating, and a healthy lifestyle.
As a general rule, women should eat at least 25 grams of fibre every day. An easy way to get more fibre is at snack time – reach for popcorn, edamame, and fresh vegetables.