Lifestyle Works

Using Fibre In The Fight Against Breast Cancer

New research from the University of Leeds has shown how eating more fibre, particularly cereal fibre, reduces the risk of developing breast cancer among pre-menopausal women.

Researchers at the University's Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics have been tracking the eating habits and health of more than 35,000 women for the past seven years, and their latest findings are published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. Their figures suggest that among the pre-menopausal women, those who have the greatest intake of fibre have cut their risk of breast cancer in half.

The research is led by Professor Janet Cade, who explained: "Previous research hasn't shown a convincing link between increased dietary fibre and a lower risk of breast cancer. But earlier studies didn't draw any distinction between pre- and post-menopausal women. Our study found no protective effect in the older group, but significant evidence of a link in the pre-menopausal women."

Of the huge group, 257 pre-menopausal women have developed breast cancer during the study. These were shown to be women who had a greater percentage of energy derived from protein, and lower intakes of dietary fibre and vitamin C, compared to the cancer-free women.

The research, which received initial funding from the World Cancer Research Fund, suggests several possible reasons for this effect:

1. High fibre foods are rich in vitamins, zinc and other micro-nutrients which have protective anti-oxidant properties;

2. Fibre can smooth out the peaks and troughs in insulin levels in the body. High levels of insulin may be one possible cause of cancer;

3. There is a known link between breast cancer and the female hormone oestrogen, and dietary fibre has been demonstrated to regulate oestrogen levels in the body. This effect would be especially relevant to the pre-menopausal group who naturally have far higher levels of the hormone.

Said Professor Cade: "Also, we don't yet know at which point in life dietary habits impact on a woman's susceptibility to breast cancer. The relevant exposure may be earlier in life, explaining why the protective effect was not shown in the post-menopausal group."

Whatever the precise cause, or combination of causes, the study does show a statistically significant effect and supports the message of eating well to stay healthy. Professor Cade added: "It goes along with the general healthy eating advice to make sure that you are getting plenty of fibre in your diet through breakfast cereals, bread, pasta, fruit and vegetables."

~University of Leeds Media, January 29, 2007

Benefits Of Fibre

Are there any sources to back up this study of fibre from University of Leeds? Medical Science speaks to confirm that fibre is indeed a major ingredient to maintain good health with prevention of disease being high on the list. The following quote is a summary of four separate studies on fibre conducted between 1976-1992.

“Whole grain outdoes white flour in a host of nutrient comparisons. For example, white bread has virtually no fibre; whole grain bread is a good source. Fibre appears able to decrease risk of a host of diseases including heart disease, cancer, constipation, appendicitis, and varicose veins.”

Animal products lack in dietary fibre. Diseases associated with a low fibre diet are as follows:

Diabetes Mellitus Constipation Appendicitis
Varicose Veins Hiatus Hernia Diverticular Disease
Hemorrhoids Bowel Cancer Bowel Polyps
Heart Disease Strokes Gallbladder Disease

In taking fibre freely in the diet, cancer risks are reduced, diabetes can be greatly helped.

- Fibre reduces levels of serum cholesterol and triglycerides.
- It reduces blood pressure in those with hypertension.
- Promotes discontinuation on insulin therapy for
non-insulin dependent diabetics.

- Reduces risk of death from heart disease.
- Improves gastrointestinal function.
- Reduces body weight in the obese.
- Reduces risk of kidney damage.
- Reduces insulin requirements.
- Improves glycemic control.

Well if it is so valuable, what are the foods that offer good sources of fibre? The graph to the right shows a comparison of sources of fibre.

~Proof Positive, Dr. Neil Nedley M.D. page 72, 180, 181, 544

Recipe of the Month

Basic Whole Wheat Muffin Mix

3c whole-wheat flour (sifted)
½ c oat-flour or unbleached white flour
2c warm water

2T yeast
2T honey

1t salt
2T oil

Make oat flour by blending dry quick or rolled oats into a flour. Mix, and let stand 5 minutes, the water, yeast and honey. Stir in remaining ingredients. Oil muffin tins. Fill ½ full with batter, or drop by large spoonfuls on an oiled tray. Let rise 10-15min. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 min. Makes 18.

Variations: Try making a cake instead, you will need to bake a little longer.
Yeast may be replaced with “Raising Powder” made by Supernatural Foods.
Date Bran Muffins: add ¾ c. bran, 2/3 cup dates. Leave out ¼ c whole wheat flour.
Blueberry Muffins: add 1½ c blue berries, 3T honey (or ¼t Stevia extract), 1t vanilla, Leave out ½ c water.