Numerous research studies have supported claims that eating a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of obesity, as well heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Now, a study just published last week in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition gives more hope to women who eat a plant based diet, rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, to help prevent breast cancer.
Researchers followed almost 92,000 women in the California Teachers Study for fourteen years. They found that those who ate a predominately plant-based diet had a 15 percent reduced risk of breast cancer, compared with those who did not include abundant fruits and vegetables in their diets. The risk reduction was greatest for estrogen receptor negative, progesterone-receptor negative (ER-/PR-) cancerous tumors that were 34 percent less likely to develop in those who ate a high plant-based diet.
What is a Plant Based diet?
A plant-based diet is one that is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains like oats, quinoa, whole wheat, brown rice, and most of the ancient grains. A plant-based diet does not necessarily mean vegetarian or vegan, which eliminates most or all, animal products. Sources of lean protein or dairy foods such as chicken breast, fish, eggs and fat free milk and yogurt can be incorporated in moderation, with more of an emphasis on plant foods, particularly whole fruits and vegetables.
According to Marlene Adelmann, Director and Founder of the Herbal Academy of New England, (HANE) “rather than taking an all or nothing approach, anyone who desires to learn how to eat a plant based diet should start by thinking about ways to simply add more whole plant foods to their current diet, as there is no question that is beneficial for most people”. Located in Bedford, MA, HANE is dedicated to teaching and promoting a lifestyle of wellness. They offer consultations and workshops on healthy living, and eating a plant based diet, including a vegetarian and vegan cooking series.
Another option for anyone wanting to experiment with more of a plant-based diet, or even take the plunge into the vegan lifestyle, is Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Their website offers a 21-Day Vegan Kickstart program, which runs from the first through the 21st of each month.