Each year, more than one-quarter of a million U.S. women are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Defined as abnormal cellular growth in breast tissue that’s already spread to adjacent tissue, it’s a troubling disease. A new study, however, suggests phenolic acid may lower the risk of breast cancer in women.
According to the study cited by Delish, women who consume lots of phenolic acid-rich foods and beverages are less likely to develop breast cancer than women who consume few or no phenolic acid-rich foods or beverages.
For the study, researchers at the University of Navarra and University of Jaen — two of Spain’s most prestigious higher learning institutions — followed the diets and health markers of over 11,000 women for 12 years. Researchers discovered that women who consumed the most phenolic acid in their diet were 62 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than their counterparts who consumed little or no phenolic acid in their diet.
Also known as phenol carboxylic acid, phenolic acid is a plant-based compound with antioxidant properties. There are different types of phenolic acid, but they all have a similar molecular structure featuring a phenolic ring. Like other antioxidants, phenolic acid protects cells in the body from oxidation-related stress.
Because it works as an antioxidant, phenolic acid could protect otherwise healthy breast tissue from abnormal, cancerous growth. Once consumed, it seeks out and neutralizes free radicals before they can cause oxidation and, subsequently, cancer.
So, which foods and beverages have the highest concentrations of phenolic acid? Researchers say red wine, coffee, dark chocolate, berries, oranges, limes, onions and whole wheat are all loaded in this beneficial antioxidant.
Phenolic acid isn’t a foolproof way to prevent breast cancer. Assuming this study is accurate, though, consuming more foods and beverages rich in this plant-based antioxidant can lower the risk of breast cancer.