Diet Changes That Might Cut Breast Cancer Risk

In light of Angelina Jolie’s mastectomy, consider these foods that could lower your breast cancer risk.


Vitamin D. Multiple studies, including one published in March in Cancer Causes and Control, have linked higher vitamin D levels with a lower risk of breast cancer. In one study, women with high vitamin D intake were up to 50 percent less likely to develop the disease. In another, Canadian researchers found that women who spent time outdoors or got lots of vitamin D from their diet or a supplement were 25 to 45 percent less likely to develop breast cancer. "Vitamin D is a subject under intense research," Collins says. "And it does appear to play a role." Some of the best vitamin D sources include milk, cereal, cod, tuna, shrimp and salmon.

[See Vitamins and Supplements: Do They Work?]

Peaches and plums. Researchers at Texas A&M University found that peaches and plums contain antioxidants that kill breast cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed. The positive effect is likely caused by chlorogenic and neocholorogenic acid, both found in particularly high levels in both fruits. Findings were published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry in 2010.

Fiber. Getting more fiber could lower breast cancer risk, according to a study published in July in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers found that for every 10 grams of added fiber daily – about half a cup to one cup of beans, depending on type – breast cancer risk decreased by 7 percent. The findings are based on 10 studies involving more than 710,000 people over 7 to 18 years. Other high-fiber foods include vegetables, whole grains and lentils.

[See 10 Fiber-Friendly Food Swaps to Help You Lose Weight.] 

Avoiding high-fat dairy foods. A study of nearly 2,000 breast cancer survivors found that those who averaged as little as one serving a day of high-fat dairy foods had a 49 percent higher risk of dying from breast cancer than those who ate little or no high-fat dairy. The research was published in March in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. High-fat dairy includes whole milk, cream and anything made with them, such as cheese and ice cream.

Updated on 5/15/2013: This story was originally published on Oct. 12, 2011.