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Start Breast Cancer Prevention During Your Teen Years

By DuPage Medical Group

Following a healthy diet is something that you already know is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. This is old news, and you’ve been told so many times, you may have tuned it out by now. But what if you knew that choosing a diet rich in fiber during your teen years may actually prevent breast cancer from developing later in life? Would you change your eating habits?

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics concluded that by consuming fiber-rich foods during high school years may significantly reduce a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer compared to those who ate less than the daily recommendation. The explanation behind fiber’s link to breast cancer is that high-fiber diets can improve insulin sensitivity since fiber helps to slow sugar absorption in the body, resulting in steady blood sugar levels. How girls care for themselves during adolescent years is thought to be predictive of future breast cancer risk. A small lifestyle modification such as increasing fiber in your diet may be beneficial later for an entire lifetime.

A high-fiber diet is not a new dietary concept. It is well known that fiber can help prevent many medical conditions such as constipation, colorectal cancer, diabetes and heart disease and now also decrease a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer.

Below is the recommended daily amount of fiber from food (not supplements) based on age and gender:

  • Females aged 9 and up = 25 grams
  • Males aged 9-13 = 31 grams
  • Males aged 14 and older = 38 grams


Follow these 5 tips to increase your fiber intake.

1. Eat More Fruit and Vegetables

Try to eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables each day.  Don’t be confused by clever packaging – fruit juice doesn’t contain fiber! Stick to the real thing and eat the peel whenever possible. Not a big fruit eater? Add fruit to a smoothie, dessert, or top off that bowl of cereal. Not all fruits are packed with fiber, so choose wisely to hit your target intake. Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and asparagus are also full of fiber. It’s recommended that half your plate be filled with colorful vegetables.

Best choices:

  • 1 large pear with skin (7 grams)
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries (8 grams)
  • 1 cup  Brussels sprouts, cooked (4 grams)
  • 1 cup green beans (4 grams)
2. Choose Cereal for Breakfast

Starting with cereal gets your day (and daily grain intake) off to the right start. Cereals that are high in fiber can still taste good. Below are a few cereals that are high in fiber and rank high in taste according to Consumer Reports magazine.

  • Granola - Kashi GoLean Crunch (8 grams in 1 cup)
  • Raisin Bran – Post (8 grams in 1 cup)
  • Shredded Wheat – Post Wheat ‘n Bran Spoon Size (8 grams in 1 ¼ cup)
  • Other High Fiber Cereal 
    • Kellogg’s All-Bran Original (10 grams in ½ cup)
    • General Mills Fiber One 60 Calories Original Bran (14 grams in ½ cup)
3. Beans, Beans, Beans

Eat beans as a side dish, or incorporate into your meal. While all beans are fiber-rich, some have a higher volume per serving than others.

  • 1 cup cooked black beans (15 grams)
  • 1 cup lima beans (13.2 grams)
  • 1 cup edamame (8 grams)
4. Sprinkle Some Flax

Ground flaxseed has very little flavor and can be sprinkled on almost anything, even ice cream or yogurt. This is an easy way to add fiber to what you are already eating.

  • 1 tablespoon, ground flax (2 grams)
5. Choose the Right Snack

Skip the potato chips and find snacks that are high in fiber and good for you! You can still get the crunch you desire while being health conscious.

  • 1 ounce almonds or pistachios (3-3.5 grams)
  • 3 cups air-popped popcorn (3.6 grams) or 1 bag of low-fat microwave popcorn (4 grams)
  • Veggies and hummus (4.5 grams in ¼ cup)

Topics and Subtopics: Cancer & Women's Health

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