When it comes to smart dietary habits that can guard us against breast cancer, it can be difficult to sift through all the research out there. To eat soy or not to eat soy, to steer clear of dairy, to drink red wine, white wine, or no wine?! Ahhh! Overwhelming, right? But there's one rule that never seems to change and only seems to get even more obvious: We have to eat our veggies.
Cruciferous ones (like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli) are always touted as fighting off cancerous cells, but a recent study published in the journal Hormones and Cancer gives props to two less likely heroes: Celery and parsley.
The researchers from the University of Missouri found that a substance found in both veggies called apigenin can slow the progression of breast cancer tumors associated with the synthetic hormone progestin. You know, the fake "Frankenhormone" paired with estrogen in menopausal hormone-replacement therapy -- and also in birth control pills! -- which has been known to increase the risk of breast cancer.
Granted, the recent study was done on mice ... They had been specially bred then implanted with breast cancer cells and given a progestin called medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), which is the same as that given as part of certain menopausal hormone-replacement therapy.
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Even though it was just an animal study, I wouldn't underestimate the power of celery and parsley. Or any veggies with "special powers" like this! It's impressive that something found in nature can curb something as evil as a cancerous tumor launched (or at least exacerbated) by synthetic hormones.
Still, this news shouldn't exactly make any woman shrug off the risks associated with synthetic hormonal drugs like HRT and birth control pills. To me, it only reiterates the problem that these drugs are triggering breast cancer tumors in the first place! Not that there's any harm in loading up on "ants on a log" or parsley-spiced soups, but if we really want to quash our risk factor, backing awaaaay from the fake hormones might be an even better place to start!
Do you take birth control pills or menopausal HRT? Does this research make you feel less or more worried about the breast cancer risk associated with those drugs?
Image via Emilian Robert Vicol/Flickr