A new study has reported that high consumption of dietary fiber is linked to low levels of inflammation in breast cancer survivors. The study was designed to investigate the associations between dietary fiber and circulating C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid A (SAA), both of which are markers of inflammation. Inflammation is suspected to increase breast cancer risk and worsen its subsequent prognosis. The degree to which dietary and lifestyle choices might affect inflammation is therefore of interest.

In particular, dietary fiber has been proposed to reduce inflammation, but this relationship has not been investigated in breast cancer survivors. The study included 698 female breast cancer survivors from the Health, Eating, Activity, and Lifestyle (HEAL) Study. Interviews and clinical visits conducted 24 months after study enrollment were used to collect study data.

Average total dietary fiber intake was found to be 13.9 g per day in the study group. The average serum C-reactive protein level was 3.32 mg/l; the level for serum amyloid A was 7.73 mg/l. Total dietary fiber intake was found to be inversely related to C-reactive protein concentrations - in other words, the higher the level of fiber intake, the lower the level of C-reactive protein. Similar results were found for insoluble fiber. Compared to women who consumed fewer than 5.4 g per day of insoluble dietary fiber, women who consumed more than 15.5 g per day of insoluble dietary fiber were 49% less likely to have elevated C-reactive protein levels. The authors conclude that diets high in fiber might benefit breast cancer survivors by reducing systemic inflammation.

Please see our article on how to optimize your breast cancer diet for information on what to eat during all stages of treatment and recovery.