Review on November 10, 2008
Breast pain that appears on a monthly basis or increases in the years leading up to menopause can be a result of many factors. Most frequently however breast pain or tenderness is the result of an imbalance of estrogen. When estrogen builds in the body at higher levels than usual it can be stored in the breasts, stimulating breast tissue and leading to feelings of breast pain or breast tenderness.
Foods high in fiber have been proven in recent studies, including one recently undertaken by the researchers at Tufts University, to prevent breast pain. Fiber, both soluble as well as insoluble, help the body to excrete excess estrogen, thereby preventing it from stimulating breast tissue and causing breast pain or discomfort.
Experts recommend a diet for women who may be suffering breast pain that includes at least 30 grams of fiber per day, a goal that is particularly reachable with a diet heavy in legumes or beans. One serving of black beans, for instance, can include up to 10 grams of fiber. The average adult in America only consumes 11 grams of fiber, so for a woman to receive these important breast-pain benefits of fiber she may need to make a conscious effort to eat more legumes and beans, along with fiber-rich fruits and vegetables.
Beans may have other benefits for menopausal women, as they have also been shown to not only fight breast pain but may be linked in a reduction of the incidence of breast cancer as well. A large scale research study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health followed 90,000 premenopausal women and their diets, recording the incidence of breast cancer. Researchers concluded that those women who ate legumes or beans in their diet twice a week or more were 24% less likely to develop breast cancer.
Due to this dual reduction of breast pain and breast cancer, it certainly can't hurt to liven up one's diet with cheap, filling, nutritious beans.
- International Journal of Cancer, Tufts Medical Journal