“You are what you eat” may apply to breast tissue health

A candid shot of radiologist attending a patient on a mammogram machine

You’ve probably heard of the “microbiome” in your gut, but did you know that the glands in breast tissue have a microbiome as well? Even more amazing, the breast microbiome can be influenced by what you eat. Scientists at Wake Forest Medical School recently published their findings in Cell Reports on a study conducted in monkeys. The primates were fed a traditional Western diet (higher in fat) or a Mediterranean diet (higher in fruits and vegetables). Compared to the Western diet group, the monkeys that ate the Mediterranean diet had breast tissue with 10 times more lactobacillus, a bacteria shown to decrease breast cancer tumor growth in animal models. They also had more bile acid metabolites, which may reduce breast cancer risk.

How diet influences human breast tissue is still unknown, but the scientists are planning to conduct more studies to find out. The current study certainly opens a new avenue of discovery of how women may be able to maintain healthy breast tissue — and ward off breast cancer.

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