Eating vegetables rich in fibre while you’re young, such as broccoli, artichokes or peas, is associated with a decreased risk of developing breast cancer, according to a new Harvard University study.
The study, Dietary Fiber Intake in Young Adults and Breast Cancer Risk, calculated the average adolescent and early adult fibre intake of 44,263 women who had participated in an ongoing survey since 1991.
Early adulthood total fibre intake was associated with significantly lower breast cancer risk, with the study finding that there was up to 19 per cent lower relative risk between study groups of low and high fibre intake.
“The researchers suggest that a diet high in fibre during early adulthood decreases the chances of developing breast cancer. The findings from this study reinforce the importance of including fibrous vegetables into the diets of young Australians,” said AUSVEG National Manager – Scientific Affairs Dr Jessica Lye.
“Scientific research all around the world is constantly discovering more benefits that come from a vegetable-rich diet, including protective effects against cancer, cardio vascular disease and diabetes.”
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing more than 9,000 Australian vegetable and potato growers.
When evaluating types of fibre, the study observed a lower breast cancer risk that was particularly correlated with higher early adulthood intake of fruit fibre and vegetable fibre.
“At 10.7g/day of vegetable fibre intake during early adulthood, there was a 11 per cent reduction in breast cancer risk compared to those with an intake of 3.3g/day,” said Dr Lye.
“Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and carrots have high levels of fibre and can be incorporated in meals throughout the day.”
“This research goes to show that what children and young adults eat during this formative period of their lives plays an important role in lowering the risk of health problems later in life and highlights the importance of encouraging children and young adults to meet their daily vegetable needs.”
“Australians are lucky to have such a wide range of locally-produced clean, green and safe vegetables to eat, and we’re seeing more and more innovative techniques and cooking styles to enhance the flavour and usability of vegetables in a variety of dishes.”

“AUSVEG has long promoted a vegetable rich, well-balanced diet and these findings emphasise the importance of adopting healthy food choices early in life.”


MEDIA CONTACT: Dimi Kyriakou, Senior Communications Officer/Editor, AUSVEG
Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0488 124 626, Email: