Teenage girls can reduce the risk of breast cancer by up to a quarter by regularly eating their 5-a-day. The study, by Harvard University, suggests that fibre from fruit and vegetables protects against breast cancer by blocking the absorption of oestrogen. They conclude that dietary habits in puberty and young adulthood could play a crucial role is resisting the disease as women grow older. But eating plenty of fruit and vegetables in later years also reduces the risk.
Women who consumed the most dietary fibre in adolescence had a 24% lower risk of breast cancer before the menopause compared to those who ate the least. The overall lifetime risk of the disease was 16 per cent lower. But women in their 20s and 30s who ate a high fibre diet also significantly reduced their risk, according to the study. This is the first piece of research to look at links between consumption of fibre in early life and later onset of breast cancer.