Rx Nutrition Resource Center

Rx Nutrition Resource Center

May 03, 2019
2 min read

Acids found in coffee, fruit and vegetables may help prevent breast cancer

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Breast cancer risk after menopause may be lowered by as much as 65% by consuming more food and liquids with certain kinds of phenolic acids, some of which can be found in coffee, fruits and vegetables, according to findings presented at the European Congress on Obesity.

Andrea Romanos-Nanclares

“Polyphenol research is considered a promising field in breast cancer prevention. Particularly, phenolic acids contribute to a large proportion of the total polyphenol intake consumption,” Andrea Romanos-Nanclares, MSc, BSc, a PhD student of nutritional epidemiology in the department of preventive medicine and public health at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, told Endocrine Today. “This research may be important because [it] presents some of the potential underlying biological reasons as to why plant-based foods, such as coffee, fruit, vegetables or nuts, may be protective against breast cancer.”

Romanos-Nanclares and colleagues assessed phenolic acid intake, including hydroxycinnamic and hydroxybenzoic acids, using food frequency questionnaires from 11,028 women in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra cohort. The questionnaire was completed at baseline, and participants were followed for 11.8 years, with 101 presenting with breast cancer during that time.

The researchers found that breast cancer risk was inversely associated with hydroxycinnamic acid consumption (HR = 0.38; 95% CI, 0.16-0.88) with the strongest association between higher chlorogenic acid consumption and lower breast cancer risk (HR = 0.35; 95% CI, 0.15-0.82) for a 65% reduction in breast cancer risk for postmenopausal women who had the highest reported consumption of these acids.

“Interestingly, chlorogenic acids have been associated with lower food cravings, reduce daily calorie intake, induce body fat loss by thermogenesis, and enhance glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity by acting as a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha agonist in in vitro studies. This mechanism could partly illustrate its potential protective effect in postmenopausal women,” Romanos-Nanclares said. “In fact, chlorogenic acid, through its potential antioxidant effects, may also reduce the proliferation of new fat cells.”

To increase the odds of this potential risk reduction and improve overall health, Romanos-Nanclares said she recommends consuming five portions per day of a combination of foods and liquids high in these acids, including coffee and fresh fruits and vegetables.

“These results also support thriving evidence that suggests switching the dietary behavior to an increase[d] consumption of the abovementioned foods may be a practical strategy for significantly lessen[ing] the incidence of other health-daunting diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes or neurodegenerative disorders,” Romanos-Nanclares said. – by Phil Neuffer



Romanos-Nanclares A, et al. Subclasses and individual compounds of phenolic acid intake and breast cancer risk in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN) cohort. Presented at: European Congress on Obesity; April 28-May 1, 2019; Glasgow, Scotland.

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.