A study by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention investigators reveals that breast cancer survivors who eat more cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, spinach and kale, as well as cabbage and cauliflower may have improved survival.
Breast cancer survivors should follow the accepted nutritional guidelines of eating vegetables daily and specifically increase intake of cruciferous vegetables including: broccoli greens, cabbage and cauliflower as part of a total healthy dietary regimen.
Researchers investigated the role of cruciferous vegetables in breast cancer survival among women in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study, a prospective study of 4,886 Chinese breast cancer survivors who were diagnosed with stage 1 to stage 4 breast cancer from the period 2002 to 2006.
After adjusting for lifestyle factors, demographics and clinical characteristics, the researchers determined cruciferous vegetable intake during the first 36 months after breast cancer diagnosis was associated with a reduced risk for total mortality, specific breast cancer mortality and recurrence of the disease. Survival rates were influenced by vegetable consumption. Women who regularly ate more of these vegetables, their risk of death or cancer recurrence decreased.
Women who were in the highest quartiles of intake of vegetables per day had a 62 percent reduced risk of total mortality, 62 percent reduced risk of breast cancer mortality, and 35 percent reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence, compared to women with the lowest quartile of intake.
The most commonly consumed cruciferous vegetables in China include turnips, Chinese cabbage (bok choy) and greens; In the United States and other Western countries, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are the most commonly consumed cruciferous vegetables.
The key nutritional advantage of cruciferous vegetables is they contain powerful protective phytochemicals known as isothiocyanates and indoles; these appear have the beneficial protective effect against some types of cancer. The levels of these bioactive compounds, which play a key role in the anticancer effects of cruciferous vegetables, depends on the amount and type of cruciferous vegetables regularly consumed.