Girls who regularly ate peanut butter or nuts were less likely to develop benign breast disease by age 30, according to a study from the Washington University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School.
“These findings suggest that peanut butter could help reduce the risk of breast cancer in women,” senior author Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH said.
Although benign breast disease is noncancerous, it can increase risk of breast cancet later in life.
The study was based on the health histories of 9,039 U.S. girls enrolled in the Growing Up Today study from 1996 to 2001. When the study participants were ages 18 to 30, from 2005 to 2010, they reported whether they had been diagnosed with benign breast disease and if it had been confirmed by a breast biopsy.
Girls who ate peanut butter or nuts at least two times a week were 39 percent less likely to have developed benign breast disease than those who refrained from eating peanut products.
Beans, lentils, soybeans and corn may also help prevent breast disease, though the evidence supporting this was weaker.
This is the first study to use reports during adolescence and continued follow-up of health records into adulthood.
The study was published in the Breast Cancer Research and Treatment journal.