(HealthDay News) — Vegetable protein and fat intakes, including peanut butter and nuts, during pre-adolescence may subsequently help reduce the risk for benign breast disease (BBD), according to a study published in the September issue of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

Catherine S. Berkey, Sc.D., from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues analyzed data from 9,039 female participants (aged 9 to 15 years) who completed food frequency questionnaires in 1996 and annually through 2001, and then in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2010. Women aged 18 to 30 years (beginning in 2005) reported whether they had ever been diagnosed with BBD that was confirmed by breast biopsy (112 cases).

Related: Breast Cancer Resource Center

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The researchers found that vegetable fat (10 g/day) was inversely associated with BBD risk (odds ratio [OR], 0.72). A daily serving of peanut butter, peanuts, nuts, beans, or corn was associated with lower risk (OR, 0.32). At age 11, peanut butter (and nuts) was inversely associated with risk.

Vegetable protein (10 g/day) at age 14 years was associated with lower BBD risk (OR, 0.64), and a daily serving of any one of the foods at 14 years was associated with lower risk (OR, 0.34). The BBD risk was significantly lowered in girls with a family history of breast cancer if they consumed these foods or vegetable fat.

“Consumption of vegetable protein, fat, peanut butter, or nuts by older girls may help reduce their risk of BBD as young women,” the authors write.