ISLAMABAD: Eating carrots regularly could slash a woman’s chances of developing certain types of breast cancer by up to 60 per cent, a study shows.
Other fruits and vegetables rich in a pigment called beta-carotene – such as spinach, red peppers and mangoes – have the same effect.
Beta-carotene is a naturally occurring chemical which gives plant foods their bright colours.
For years, scientists have been advocating its consumption as part of a healthy diet in order to ward off life-threatening conditions like heart disease and cancer.
But the latest study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests the benefits in terms of breast cancer are greater than anyone thought.
Carrots and other vegetables are rich in beta-carotene – a naturally occurring chemical which gives plant foods their bright colours.
Around 58,000 women a year in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer.
The disease strikes one in eight at some point in their lives.
A healthy diet rich in plant chemicals has long been thought to have a protective effect.
Scientists carrying out one of the biggest ever studies into the relationship between diet and cancer – the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition – looked at a wide range of plant chemicals to see how they affected cancer risk.
Scientists from all across Europe studied 1,500 women diagnosed with breast tumours and another 1,500 or so who were cancer-free.
They were quizzed on dietary habits and blood tests were carried out to measure levels of beta-carotene, as well as other plant-based substances like vitamin C and lycopene.
The results revealed that women who ate foods packed with beta-carotene – like carrots and peppers – were between 40 and 60 per cent less likely to develop oestrogen receptor negative breast cancers.
These account for nearly one in three of all breast tumours.
But the pigment did not appear to lower a woman’s chances of oestrogen receptor positive tumours – which account for the bulk of breast cancers in the UK.
The benefits from other plant chemicals were also negligible, researchers said.
Scientists from all across Europe studied 1,500 women diagnosed with breast tumours and another 1,500 or so who were cancer-free and quizzed them on their dietary habits.
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