A very large and impressive study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research showed that breast cancer survivors who ate diets high in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and turnip greens, had a markedly reduced risk of cancer recurrence and a significantly increased improvement in overall survival and cancer-free survival. What great news! Here are the details.

Researchers from the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center partnered with scientists from the Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention to follow 4886 women with Stage I-IV breast cancer. In and of itself, this is a most interesting study design because it included women with very advanced breast cancer, quite unusual in a prospective study of this kind. The investigators followed the survivors from 2002-2006 and kept a record of their dietary intake of cruciferous vegetables. The results were truly remarkable: a 62% reduction in mortality and a 35% reduction in breast cancer recurrence.

The researchers also made another important discovery: they found a dose-response relationship between increasing consumption of cruciferous vegetables and increasing benefit from these foods. Women with the highest intake of cruciferous vegetables enjoyed the greatest benefit compared to women with the lowest intake.

Since there’s no doubt these vegetables are good for you – you’ve been hearing this since you were a child – and since we now have scientific data showing they may also improve outcomes for women with breast cancer, it only makes sense for all women, but especially survivors, to include them in their diet every day.

To help make this easier, in the coming week I will provide a series of simple, delicious, and nutritious recipes culled from my own kitchen that include these potentially powerful breast-protecting vegetables.

From now on, every time you go to the grocery store, be sure to throw some cruciferous vegetables into your shopping cart. Make it a habit: your breasts will thank you.