High dietary fiber intake may greatly reduce breast cancer risk in premenopausal women, suggests new research from the University of Leeds in Great Britain.

Researchers calculated the daily fiber intake of more than 35,000 women, ages 35 to 69, who were participants in the U.K. Women's Cohort Study. Premenopausal women with a fiber intake of 30 or more grams per day had a 52 percent lower risk of breast cancer than women who consumed less than 20 grams per day.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 178,480 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Although current fiber recommendations for adults are 20 to 35 grams per day, the average American eats just 14 to 15 grams daily. "We get dietary fiber from plant foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds," says Karen Collins, MS, RD, nutrition advisor to the American Institute for Cancer Research. To reap a wide range of cancer-protective properties, she recommends eating three servings of whole grains and seven to ten servings of fruits and vegetables every day.