Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. According to a study published in the journal Menopause, obesity coupled with vitamin D deficiency in postmenopausal women may pose a significant risk of breast cancer.Vitamin D helps build bone strength and immunity. Women, especially the ones who are in their middle age should load up on vitamin D. The findings showed that higher levels of vitamin D may reduce breast cancer mortality by 50 per cent in women with lower body mass index (BMI).
According to the study, vitamin D reduces cancer risk by inhibiting cell proliferation. For the study, the team of researchers studied more than 600 Brazilian women.
"This study suggests that higher levels of vitamin D in the body are associated with lowered breast cancer risk," said JoAnn Pinkerton, Executive Director at The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) in the US.
"Vitamin D may play a role in controlling breast cancer cells or stopping them from growing. Vitamin D comes from direct sunlight exposure, vitamin D3 supplements, or foods rich in vitamin D," Pinkerton added.
There are number of factors that are said to be associated with breast cancer development. Reproductive risk factors such as early onset of puberty, late menopause, later age at first pregnancy, never having been pregnant, obesity, and a family are some of the common ones.
The research showed that postmenopausal women had an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency at the time of their breast cancer diagnoses, associated with higher rates of obesity, than women of the same age group without cancer.
Women in the highest quartile of vitamin D concentrations, in fact, had a 50 per cent lower death rate from breast cancer than those in the lower quartile, the study revealed. This means that vitamin D levels should be restored to a normal range in all women with breast cancer.
Here are some foods you must load up on to increase your vitamin D intake naturally.
1. Cheese: Cheese is one of the richest sources of vitamin D. Ricotta is said to have the highest levels of vitamin D. Cheese is also considered as a rich source of good fat and calcium.
2. Mushrooms: Mushrooms are packed with decent quantum of vitamin D. Make sure you clean the mushrooms well before using. You can have them in broths, stews or salads.
3. Fatty Fish: Fatty fish like mackerel, tuna, salmon are loaded with high quality vitamin D. Include them in sandwiches, have them grilled or in salads.
4. Egg yolk: Since the vitamin D in an egg comes from its yolk, it's important to use the whole egg--not just the whites. Don't toss away the yolk, unless you have a cholesterol problem.
5. Milk: Raw milk is one of the best sources for vitamin D. Vegans can try Soy milk, which is also very rich in the sunshine vitamin.
Eat these foods and make most of the sunshine vitamin.
(With inputs IANS)