Healthful plant-based diets ward off breast cancer

20 Nov 2021
Healthful plant-based diets ward off breast cancer

Adherence to a healthy plant-based diet seems to protect both post- and premenopausal women against breast cancer, a recent Iran study has found.

The researchers conducted a hospital-based case-control study including 412 women (mean age 46.2±10.3 years) who had been diagnosed with pathologically-confirmed breast cancer within the past year. A comparator cohort of 456 apparently healthy women (mean age 44.2±11.1 years) was also included. Diet was assessed according to overall, healthful (h), and unhealthful (u) plant-based diet index (PDI) scores.

Categorizing patients according to quartiles of PDI, hPDI, and uPDI revealed key characteristics of each dietary pattern. For instance, women in the highest PDI and hPDI quartiles showed higher intakes of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, vitamin C, and potassium. In comparison, the highest uPDI quartile was characterized by greater intake of potatoes and saturated fatty acids.

After adjusting for age and energy, logistic regression analysis found that greater adherence to the hPDI dietary pattern suppressed the likelihood of breast cancer by nearly 50 percent (odds ratio [OR], 0.55, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.37–0.82; p=0.002). Further adjustments for all confounders, such as physical activity and family history of breast cancer, only slightly attenuated the effect (OR, 0.61, 95 percent CI, 0.40–0.93; p=0.01).

Moreover, the hPDI dietary pattern remained protective against breast cancer in both pre- (OR, 0.61, 95 percent CI, 0.40–0.93; p=0.01) and postmenopausal (OR, 0.63, 95 percent CI, 0.40–0.98; p=0.01) women.

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