How African American Women Can Reduce Their Risk of Breast Cancer by 40%
The good news is that African-American women eat a lot of cruciferous vegetables (e.g. collard greens, cabbage and broccoli). The bad news is that we don’t eat enough total servings of fruits and vegetables every day, which has been scientifically shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
A sampling of 59,000 African American women (known as the “Black Women’s Health Study,” aka BWH) found that on average the number of fruits and vegetables eaten every day was 1 serving or less (0.7 servings of fruit and 1 serving of vegetables).
This study found some interesting trends in less risk of getting breast cancer and how this relates to the number of fruits and vegetables eaten:
For postmenopausal African American women.
- 4 or more servings a day of fruits and vegetables lowered risk by 24%
- 2 or more servings a day of just vegetables lowered risk by 14%
- 6 or more servings a week of cruciferous vegetables lowered risk by 8%
Bottom line: African American women who have gone through menopause need to be eating a lot (4 or more servings) of fruits and vegetables every day.
For pre-menopausal African American women.
- 4 or more servings a day of fruits and vegetables lowered risk by 10%
- 2 or more servings a day of just vegetables lowered risk by 16%
- 6 or more servings a week of cruciferous vegetables lowered risk by 41% (that’s about a serving a day)
Bottom line: If you’re an African American women that still has her period, eat 1 serving a day of cruciferous vegetables. The BWH study said these women ate lots of broccoli, cabbage (e.g. cole slaw) and collard greens.
Reducing risk of aggressive ER-/PR- Breast Cancer
And finally, when it comes to the aggressive form of breast cancer, ER-/PR-, which is diagnosed more frequently in African American and Latino women, they found that eating 2 or more servings every day lowers the risk of this type by 43%.
So ladies, keep eating all those delicious cruciferous vegetables but start adding on more to your plate until you eventually reach 2 servings every day.
To your best health!
Deanine Grace, PhD