Girls who eat more peanut butter could improve their breast health later in life.
Girls ages 9 to 15 who regularly ate peanut butter or nuts were 39 percent less likely to develop benign breast disease by age 30, according to a new study.
Benign breast disease, although noncancerous, increases risk of breast cancer later in life.
“These findings suggest that peanut butter could help reduce the risk of breast cancer in women,” says senior author Graham Colditz, professor of surgery at Washington University School of Medicine and associate director for cancer prevention and control at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
Later, from 2005 through 2010, when the study participants were 18 to 30 years old, they reported whether they had been diagnosed with benign breast disease that had been confirmed by breast biopsy.
Participants who ate peanut butter or nuts two times each week were 39 percent less likely to have developed benign breast disease than those who never ate them.
The study’s findings suggest that beans, lentils, soybeans, and corn also may help prevent benign breast disease, but consumption of these foods was much lower in these girls so the evidence was weaker.
Past studies have linked peanut butter, nut, and vegetable fat consumption to a lower risk for benign breast disease. However, participants in those studies were asked to recall their high school dietary intakes years later.
This new study is the first to use reports made during adolescence, with continued follow-up as cases of benign breast disease are diagnosed in young women.
Researchers from Harvard University Medical School contributed to the study, which was supported by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.