All the women had to complete a food questionnaire at the start of the study listing how often they ate 136 different food items.
Then they were split into three groups according to their intake of phenolic acids, with those with the highest consumers of hydroxycinnamic acids (a naturally occurring type of phenolic acid) having a 62% reduced risk of breast cancer in comparison to those with the lowest intake.
Chlorogenic acids, a type of hydroxycinnamic acid found in coffee, fruits, and vegetables were found to have the strongest effect.
Researchers said the diet could possibly reduce the inflammation of fat tissue, oxidative stress which can damage tissue or resistance to insulin.
They concluded: ‘A higher intake of hydroxycinnamic acids, especially from chlorogenic acids – present in coffee, fruits and vegetables – was associated with decreased post-menopausal breast cancer risk.’
Dr Kotryna Temcinaite, from Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now, said: ‘We’ve long known that eating fruit and vegetables as part of a balanced diet can help lower your risk of breast cancer by helping you maintain a healthy weight.’
‘While this study helps to suggest a potential mechanism behind this benefit, further research is needed to understand the effect that phenolic acids found in foods such as fruit, veg and coffee may have on breast cancer risk.’
But she warned against drinking large amounts of coffee to counteract the risk.
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The daily lifestyle email from Metro.co.uk.
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