This study actually applies to all women but is particularly relevant for those on HRT. That is because of the well established research showing that certain synthetic hormones used in HRT (a progestin called medroxyprogesterone acetate – MPA) can accelerate breast tumor development.
When tumor cells develop in the breast in response to MPA they encourage new blood vessels to form within tumors and the blood vessels then supply the nutrients needed for the tumors to grow and multiply.
Why all women should include these in their diet
This study was published in Cancer Prevention Research and highlights the work of Salman Hyder, Professor of biomedical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center.
This was not a human trial, but exposed rats with a certain type of breast cancer to apigenin, a common compound found in parsley and other plant products.
The rats that were exposed to the apigenin developed fewer tumors and experienced significant delays in tumor formation compared to those rats that were not exposed to apigenin.
Hyder found that apigenin not only blocked new blood vessel formation, thereby delaying, and sometimes stopping, the development of the tumors but it also reduced the overall number of tumors.
However, this is only an animal trial and while apigenin did delay tumor growth, it did not stop the initial formation of cancer cells within the breast.
If you want to be proactive about breast cancer risk there are some simple changes to your diet that can help.
So What Should You Eat?
Apigenin is most prevalent in parsley and celery, but can also be found in apples, oranges, nuts and other plant products.
Because apigenin is not absorbed efficiently into the bloodstream at the present time scientists are unsure of how much can or should be taken as there are no specific dosage for humans yet.
However, it appears that keeping a minimal level of apigenin in the bloodstream is important to delay the onset of breast cancer that progresses in response to progestins such as MPA.
So crunch on some celery and start eating the parsley you have been decorating your dinner plate with!
Of course preventing breast cancer is not just about diet, there are many factors involved, but one clear one is keeping excess oestrogen in check. Oestrogen dominance where oestrogen is high and progesterone levels low is linked to an increased risk, so check whether you need to rebalance your hormones to keep cancer at bay.