Could something as simple as an afternoon snack really cut your daughter’s future risk of breast cancer? According to some recent research, it just might, especially if you choose apples and peanut butter with a glass of low-fat milk. This is great news, especially for parents who are looking for easy, healthy snack options for their hungry kids.
An apple a day
Several studies from Cornell University in recent years showed the benefits of apples in preventing the growth of cancer cells. Of particular value were the antioxidants found in apple peels. Researchers said the extract of apple peels had an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells in rats they tested.
“An apple a day” may be an old adage, but when it comes to choosing a cancer-fighting afternoon snack, apple slices with the peels left on may be your kids’ very best bet. And what goes better with apples than peanut butter?
Benefits of peanut butter
A study published in the September issue of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment followed more than 9,000 girls, age 9 to 15 at the onset of the study, over a period of 15 years. The young women who ate peanut butter three times a week were 39 percent less likely to have developed benign breast disease, a common risk factor for breast cancer, by the end of the study.
According to Dr. Graham Colditz, senior researcher, the link between consuming peanut butter and a decreased risk of breast disease is strong, even when accounting for other factors such as an overall healthy diet or milk consumption. He suggests teens choose peanut butter regularly over less-healthy snack options, especially if they have a family history of breast cancer.
Choose low-fat milk to wash it down
If your teen craves a tall glass of milk to wash down her peanut butter and apples, you might want to choose low-fat or skim milk instead of whole in order to further reduce the risk of breast cancer. Although the studies on dairy consumption are mixed, a deficiency in vitamin D is definitely tied to an increased risk of breast cancer, according to Breastcancer.org.
But according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in March, full-fat dairy products may be linked to a higher risk of death in women who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer. It is the estrogen, found mainly in the fatty portion of dairy products, that is thought to increase the incidence of breast cancer cell growth. Low-fat dairy products have less fat, therefore less estrogen, and the women in this study who reported eating low-fat dairy had a significantly lower risk of dying from breast cancer.
So there you have it: apples, peanut butter, and a glass of ice-cold low-fat milk. A delicious snack that just might lower your teen’s long-term risk of breast cancer, too.
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