A high fiber diet is great for weight control and for promoting overall good health, but did you know that for women it can help reduce the risk factors for breast cancer?
A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests women can reduce their risk of breast cancer by 7 percent for every 10 grams of fiber added to their daily diet. Here are five high-fiber foods that are delicious and easy to add to meals and snacks:
Lentils are loaded with phytoestrogrens and they are the best source of folate – a B vitamin that helps with cell production. Studies have shown women who consume high levels of this nutrient are 44 percent less likely to develop breast cancer. With about 16 grams of fiber per cup, try adding these seeds to your veggie burgers, soups, stews and favorite salads.
As a crunchy snack or topping, each bite-size nut provides a boost of protein, fiber and omega3s. Researchers say walnuts may help reduce the size of tumors due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Go easy on the portions, though. One cup of walnuts contains five grams of fiber, but with over 500 calories moderation is still the key.
This cruciferous vegetable can reduce the quantity of breast cancer stem cells because it contains Sulforaphane – a powerful, cancer-fighting compound that once consumed, can reach breast cancer tissue within about an hour. One cup of broccoli can boost your daily value of fiber by 9 percent, and it is its most nutritious consumed raw. Tip: If you prefer cooked broccoli, briefly steaming or stir-frying will help retain the most nutrients.
Opt for whole grains, such as oats, rye and brown rice to reduce your risk for breast cancer. Whole grains contain bran, a fiber-rich component often stripped out of refined and processed grains. The wheat bran from whole grains may also speed up the metabolism of estrogen, a hormone whose high levels are associated with breast cancer risk. When grocery shopping, look for products with a minimum of three grams of fiber per serving or more.
Filled with cancer-fighting properties, pomegranate offers six grams of fiber per cup, and contains over 100 types of phytonutrients – natural chemicals with loads of health benefits. Pomegranate juice in particular has been shown to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells and also prevents metastatic processes. To avoid a sugar rush, stick with one cup of juice a day (roughly 250 mL), or make a mock-tail spritzer by using half juice half seltzer.
For more delicious high fiber meal plans, recipes and tips on healthy eating, drinking and losing weight, check out my latest book, The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber!
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a registered dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with fiber and The F-Factor Diet. Follow Tanya on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn