Plant-based diets are all the rave due to their many health benefits. For example, research shows that plant-based diets may help Blacks as they age. Many people have already made the switch to a plant-based diet and if you a considering it as an option to get to a healthier you, we just may have something to sway your vote. Women who follow a healthy plant-based diet after menopause appear to face a substantially lower risk for breast cancer, new French research indicates.
How a plant-based diet helps
After tracking more than 65,000 women for two decades, investigators found those who consumed a healthy, primarily plant-based diet saw their risk of developing any type of breast cancer drop by an average of 14%.
But the accent is on “healthy.” Breast cancer risk fell only among women whose diets included a significant amount of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, vegetable oils and tea or coffee — even if red meat and poultry occasionally figured into the equation.
The type of plant foods you are consuming play a major role in the level of benefit you will receive, however. If you’re used to consuming fruit juices, refined grains, potatoes, sugar-sweetened beverages and/or desserts, here’s your sign to change your diet. Consuming these foods on a daily basis will essentially overrule your carefully planned plant-based diet, providing you no protective benefits. In fact, women that regularly consumed these foods actually saw their breast cancer risk rise by about 20%.
Study lead author Sanam Shah says the findings “highlight that increasing the consumption of healthy plant foods, and decreasing the consumption of less healthy plant foods, might help prevent all types of breast cancer.”
But the caveat, she adds, is clear: “Not all plant-based diets are equally healthy.”
Given that in general “diets excluding meat generally have a ‘positive’ health image,” some people might find that conclusion surprising, says Shah, a PhD student in epidemiology at Paris-Saclay University in France.
Do you have to eliminate meat altogether?
For the meat lovers out there, this study also shows that you don’t have to do away with meat altogether.
Instead, the investigators honed in on women whose diets included