(NaturalNews) Women are often inundated with frightening statistics about breast cancer as if there's nothing to be done but hope they won't get it. And they are urged to expose their breasts to the radiation in mammograms every year in case the dreaded, sometimes killer disease is lurking in their chests. However, as Natural News has previously reported, research is building that specific natural substances, including vitamin D, and the avoidance of carcinogenic substances can go far in reducing breast cancer risk.
Now there's new research showing that carotenoids, phytonutrients found in yellow, orange and red fruits and vegetables, significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer. The study, just published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, reveals an important, inverse relationship between circulating levels of individual and total carotenoids and the risk of breast malignancies. Simply put, the more carotenoid-rich foods you eat, the lower your breast cancer risk could be.
Scientist A. Heather Eliassen of the Department of Medicine at Brigham & Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and her research team analyzed eight cohort studies. These are especially crucial studies because they bring together over 80 percent of the world's published prospective data on plasma or serum levels of carotenoids and breast cancer.
The new analysis included 3,055 research subjects and 3,956 matched control subjects. The carotenoid levels of all the people in the study were recalibrated to a common standard to get accurate measurements for the researchers to compare. The results showed a strong relationship between those in the study who didn't have breast cancer and higher levels of carotenoids in the body. The findings were strongest for estrogen receptor negative (ER-) breast cancer, which is a type of breast malignancy that is often difficult to treat.
"The inverse associations we observed among ER- tumors highlight carotenoids as one of the first modifiable risk factors for this poor prognosis tumor type," the authors of the study wrote. "A diet high in carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables offers many health benefits, including a possible reduced risk of breast cancer."
This isn't the first time carotenoids have been found to have anti-cancer properties. Previous studies have found carotenoids inhibit the progression of tumors and reduce the spread of both estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) and estrogen receptor negative (ER-) breast cancers. The new research raises the strong possibility that a diet rich in carotenoids, or supplements containing these nutrients, might keep breast cancer from developing in the first place. The most common carotenoids include alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene.
About the author: Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA''''s "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine''''s "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic''''s "Men''''s Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.