High fibre diets have always been linked to better health and the prevention of some diseases like bowel cancer.
Researchers claim they now have now substantial proof to add breast cancer to the list.
Leeds University professor Janet Cade who led the research published findings in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
She and her team reviewed more than 35,000 women over a period of 7 years. The study involved both pre- and post -menstrual women.
During the study 257 pre-menstrual women developed breast cancer. It was observed that these persons derived their energy from high protein foods and had a low fibre and vitamin c intake.
Most significantly it was seen that those women who ate more than 30 g of fibre per day as against 20g or less, halved their risk of getting breast cancer. Yet this link was not seen in the 350 post-menstrual women who developed breast cancer.
The researchers attributed this to the way fibre regulates and processes estrogen, which is present in higher amounts in younger women.
Says Professor Janet Cade, "Our study found no protective effect in the older group, but significant evidence of a link in the pre-menopausal women. In addition, post-menopausal women with high body mass indexes have an increased risk of breast cancer. Their weight may over-ride any other effects such as benefits from fibre.
It goes along with the general healthy eating advice to make sure that you are getting plenty of fibre in your diet through breakfast cereals, bread, pasta, fruit and vegetables."
Ed Yong, cancer information officer at Cancer Research UK opines, "We already advise eating a diet rich in fibre to reduce the risk of bowel cancer. This study suggests that it could help protect against breast cancer in younger women too. Until now, the evidence that fibre could reduce the risk of breast cancer has been inconsistent."
The strongest protective links were seen with cereal foods like whole wheat pasta, and bread, muesli, and high fibre fruits.