Women, are you getting enough dietary fiber? Diets rich in vegetables and legumes decrease your risk of ovarian cancer

The food you eat can either keep you healthy or make you sick. Some can cause cancer, such as processed and junk foods, while others help prevent it. In a recent literature review, it was found that eating foods rich in fiber may help ward off ovarian cancer.

Existing evidence on the link between dietary fiber consumption and risk of ovarian cancer is inconsistent. So, researchers from Qingdao University in China carried out a meta-analysis on the available scientific literature on the link between dietary fiber intake and ovarian cancer risk. They hypothesized that adding foods rich in fiber to the diet might be linked to a reduced risk of ovarian cancer. To test this hypothesis, they collected 19 existing studies that explore the association. The studies included 567, 742 participants.

Based on the data that were gathered, researchers found that there was an association between dietary fiber consumption and risk of ovarian cancer. In addition, they discovered that for every 5-gram (g) increase in dietary fiber intake each day, the risk of ovarian cancer was reduced by three percent. These results, which were published in the journal Nutrition Research, indicate that consumption of fiber-rich foods is associated with a lower risk of ovarian cancer.

From these findings, the researchers suggest women to eat more foods rich in fiber to help cut their risk of ovarian cancer.

Dietary fiber intake also cuts the risk of breast cancer

Eating fiber-rich foods can also help protect against breast cancer. A systematic review published in the journal Oncotarget suggests that consuming foods rich in fiber is significantly associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal women.

A different team of Chinese researchers conducted a systematic review to assess the effectiveness of dietary fiber intake in reducing the risk of breast cancer because existing evidence from randomized controlled trials on this association is inconsistent. To conduct the review, they obtained a total of 24 studies on dietary fiber intake and breast cancer risk.

Researchers found that there was a 12 percent decline in breast cancer risk with dietary fiber consumption. In addition, they found that for every 10-g per day increase in dietary fiber consumption, the risk of breast cancer was slashed by four percent. From these findings, the researchers conclude that eating foods rich in fiber may play a role in the prevention of breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal women. (Related: Eating more nuts and fiber in adolescence helps young women avoid breast cancer later in life.)

Tips on how to get more fiber in your diet

You can incorporate fiber in your diet by following these tips:

  • Eat fruits and vegetables daily: Experts recommend eating at least two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables every day. You can do this by adding fruits, vegetables, or both to every meal as a snack, side dish, or an ingredient to your dish. Also, when eating fruits and vegetables, do not remove their edible skin when possible because it is where most of their fiber content comes from.
  • Eat pulses: Pulses, such as beans, lentils, and peas, are loaded with fiber and are cheap. Experts recommend eating these foods at least thrice a week. You can use them as a substitute to meat protein, or as the starch side in place of grains.
  • Snack on nuts and seeds: Instead of snacking on unhealthy chips and other junks, snack on nuts and seeds as they are rich in fiber. You can also add them to your yogurt, oatmeal, salads, and stir-fries.
  • Replace refined grains with whole grains: For rice, eat whole grains like brown rice, wild rice, or bulgar, instead of refined grains like white rice. For pasta, choose those made from quinoa or pulses like chickpeas and lentils.

Read more news stories and studies on foods that help protect against cancer, by going to AntiCancer.news.

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