Eating an "inflammatory diet" as a teen may increase a woman's risk of breast cancer, a new study suggests.
Researchers studied women who, as high schoolers, had consumed diets thought to increase levels of inflammation in the body. Results showed that these women were more likely to develop breast cancer as adults prior to menopause, compared with women who ate a different type of diet as high schoolers.
Women who consumed inflammatory diets during their 20s, 30 and 40s were also at increased risk of breast cancer before menopause.
An inflammatory diet is one that's low in vegetables and high in sugar-sweetened and diet soft drinks, refined sugars and carbohydrates, red and processed meats, and margarine, said study researcher Karin B. Michels, an epidemiology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health. Consuming these foods has been linked to higher levels of markers of inflammation in the body, Michels said.
"Our results suggest that a habitual diet that promotes chronic inflammation when consumed during adolescence or early adulthood may indeed increase the risk of breast cancer in younger women before menopause," Michels said in a statement.