With all the hype about what’s bad in our diet here’s some encouraging news. A landmark study was completed in Shanghai China regarding genes and breast cancer. This study was done over a 3 year period with over 6,000 women between the ages of 20 and 70 years of age. One of the groups studied were 3035 women who already had breast cancer. The second group of 3037 was randomly selected and was cancer free. Extensive dietary histories were taken to see if breast cancer or genetics could be linked to diet.
Two very important findings were identified. The first was that scientists were able to identify an important breast cancer gene. The second was that women with the cancer related genotype who have a low intake of cruciferous vegetables have a 1.7 fold increased risk for cancer. Women with the same genotype who consume a diet high in cruciferous vegetables lower their odds for breast cancer because nutrients in these particular vegetables lessen the potential cancer causing effects.
The take home message from the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study is that if you have the genetic variation that makes you vulnerable to breast cancer, (GSTP1 val/val allele), certain phytonutrients in cruciferous vegetables can compensate for the breast cancer gene you inherited and in turn lower your risk for breast cancer. But even if you don’t have the particular cancer gene, cruciferous vegetables have other health promoting effects that will benefit you and your whole family. Now that’s a good reason to eat your veggies