Orange vegetables can reduce breast cancer risk, US researchers find

  • December 11, 2012
  • Kate Carey

US researchers have found that women that consume high levels of carotenoids, particularly found in orange vegetables, have the lowest risk of breast cancer.

The study conducted by the Channing Division of Network Medicine, The Department of Medicine at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School was published in the recent Journal of the National Cancer Institute. It found that in more than 3,000 case studies that there was a direct correlation between circulating levels of carotenoids and breast cancer risk.

Carotenoids are most commonly found in orange-coloured fruit and vegetables such as carrots, apricots, mangoes, squash, papaya, and sweet potatoes as they contain significant amounts of beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin.

Carotenoids are also found in leafy green vegetables containing beta-carotene; and tomatoes, guava and pink grapefruit containing lycopene.

The US study was based on the analysis of eight previously published studies on plasma or serum carotenoids and breast cancer.

According to the researchers, the association between high levels of carotenoids and decreased breast cancer risk was stronger in breast cancer cases caused by estrogen.

The study said that “the inverse associations observed among ER-negative tumors highlight carotenoids as one of the first modifiable risk factors for this poor prognosis tumor type.”

“A diet high in carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables offers many health benefits, including a possible reduced risk of breast cancer.”


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