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Broccoli, bok choy might help breast cancer survival

  • Blog Post by: Colleen Stoxen
  • April 4, 2012 - 9:40 AM

 

Here's another reason to eat your broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Women with breast cancer who eat a lot of cruciferous vegetables may be more likely to live longer and less likely to have their cancer come back, a large study suggests.

 

"The more cruciferous vegetables you eat, the better off you are," says researcher Sarah J. Nechuta, MPH, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

It's easy to get 150 grams of these veggies in your diet, Nechuta tells WebMD. A cup of cooked broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, cabbage, and kale all weigh about 150 grams.

The study, presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, isn’t the first to suggest the benefit, but it's one of the largest. The study involved nearly 5,000 Chinese breast cancer survivors aged 20-75 diagnosed with any stage of breast cancer between 2002 and 2006.

By about five years after diagnosis, women in the top fifth -- who ate an average of about 150 grams of cruciferous veggies a day -- were 42% less likely to have died from breast cancer and 58% less likely to die from any cause compared to women in the bottom fifth, who ate less than 54 grams a day. And the women in the top fifth were also 19% less likely to have their breast cancer come back.

Cruciferous vegetables contain high amounts of compounds called glucosinolates. When eaten, they convert to other compounds called isothiocyanates and indoles that have been shown to have many anti-cancer properties in the lab, Nechuta says.

Read more from WebMD.

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