Thursday, October 3, 2013

Peanut Butter and Breast Health


Here’s some news worth spreading:

Girls who eat more peanut butter could improve their breast health later in life.

That’s according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Harvard Medical School. The research shows that girls ages 9 to 15 who regularly ate peanut butter or nuts were 39 percent less likely to develop benign breast disease by age 30.

Benign breast disease is fairly common, and a known risk factor for breast cancer. Depending on the characteristics of its lesion, benign breast disease could increase breast cancer risk by threefold.

The findings are based on the health histories of 9,039 U.S. girls enrolled in The Growing Up Today Study from 1996 through 2001. Later, from 2005 through 2010, when the study participants were 18 to 30 years old, they reported whether they had been diagnosed with benign breast disease that had been confirmed by breast biopsy.

The study’s findings suggest that beans, lentils, soybeans and corn also may help prevent benign breast disease, but consumption of these foods was much lower in these girls and thus the evidence was weaker.

The take-home message is for teens and preteens to substitute peanuts and peanut butter for less-healthy snacks such as cookies, unless you are allergic to peanuts.


The above story is based on the September 25, 2013 news release by the Washington University in St. Louis.

The research was published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment:

Berkey CS, Willett WC,Tamimi RM, Rosner B, Frazier AL, Colditz GA. Vegetable protein and vegetable fat intakes in pre-adolescent and adolescent girls, and risk for benign breast disease in young women. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2013 Sep:141(2): 299-306


More information

Click HERE for more about benign breast conditions from the American Cancer Society.

Peanut allergy is a hypersensitivity reaction to dietary substances from peanuts that causes an overreaction of the immune system which in a small percentage of people may lead to severe physical symptoms. Click HERE for more on peanut allergy.

About 0.6% of American adults and 1.4% percent of children are allergic to peanuts. Interestingly, the prevalence of peanut allergy in China is much lower, despite a high rate of peanut consumption in China. 

It appears that the method of preparing peanuts could be a factor in the disparity of allergy prevalence between the 2 countries.

The methods of frying or boiling peanuts, as practiced in China, appear to reduce the allergenicity of peanuts compared with the method of dry roasting practiced widely in the United States. Roasting uses higher temperatures that apparently increase the allergenic property of peanut proteins.

Beyer K, Morrow E, Li XM, Bardina L, Bannon GA, Burks AW, Sampson HA. Effects of cooking methods on peanut allergenicity.  J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2001 Jun;107(6):1077-81.

If you are not allergic to peanuts, go to The Peanut Institute and learn more about peanuts and health.

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