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Fiber Reduces Breast Cancer Risk

By Expert HERWriter
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Cancer related image Photo: Getty Images

How much fiber do you eat in a day? Is your diet filled with vegetables, fruit and whole grains? According to new research in the July 2011 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, those who ate more fiber were less likely to develop breast cancer by 11% compared to those who did not eat very much.

This means you need to start counting your grams of fiber as the US Department of Agriculture recommends women eat 25 grams of fiber each and every day. So again I ask, how many grams of fiber do you eat?

To give you a general idea of foods high in fiber, look towards vegetables, fruit, beans, lentils, and whole grains. Meat and dairy do not contain fiber and simple carbohydrates such as white rice, white bread, or white pasta contain very little. Instead, consider these foods:

A cup of raspberries has 8 grams.
A cup of oatmeal has about 5 grams.
A cup of brown rice has about 4 grams.
A cup of cooked black beans has 15 grams.
A medium artichoke has 10 grams.
One half cup of kidney beans has 8 grams.
A slice of whole grain bread has 2 grams.
Two tablespoons of ground up flax seeds has about 4 grams.
One half cup of brown rice has 5.5 grams.
One half cup of cooked spinach has 7 grams.

Fiber is important for other things, too. It helps absorb toxins and reduce cardiovascular disease as it helps lower cholesterol and LDL (the ‘bad’ cholesterol) by binding it all up so you can excrete it out. Fiber is beneficial for those with constipation as it provides the bulking needed to move things along the intestinal tract. Be sure to drink a lot of water though, otherwise it can be too bulking and just sit there making you feel bloated.

If you are having a hard time eating your way to 25grams, try a powdered fiber supplement (such as oat bran, ground flax seeds, or psyllium husk) that easily blends into water or other liquids. Mix ground flax seeds into your baking or blend in your oatmeal, add beans to your salad as a second protein source, switch out your usual white rice for brown rice, and aim to have at least one salad everyday full of mixed leafy greens (not iceberg lettuce) and diced up vegetables.

1) Dietary fiber intake and risk of breast cancer: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies
2) Women who eat lots of fiber have less breast cancer
3) High Fiber Foods

Reviewed July 29, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Shannon Koehle

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.