Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, which, in turn, helps prevent breast cancer.
You already know a number of things that can reduce your chances of getting various types of cancer.
Compared to those who ate after 10 p.m. or went to bed right after dinner, those who ate their last meal of the day before 9 p.m. were found to have a 20 percent lower risk of breast and prostate cancers.
"Disruption of your body clock and reduced ability to process glucose are possible mechanistic factors linking late-night eating to cancer risk".
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"Although prior studies have suggested an association, they have been limited in power, particularly for specific fruits and vegetables and aggressive subtypes of breast cancer", said first author Maryam Farvid from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. The risk of developing breast cancer decreased by 16% and that of developing prostate cancer by 26%.
Participants' lifestyles were assessed, including information about their meal times and sleeping habits. In addition, a control group with more than 2,000 men and women (who did not have cancer) were also taken into account in the study. The findings were published on Tuesday in the International Journal of Cancer.
The lead author of the study mentioned, "Our study concludes that adherence to diurnal eating patterns is associated with a lower risk of cancer".
Previous studies have shown that breast and prostate cancer risk are higher in night-shift workers likely because of a disruption of circadian rhythm, or a person's sleep-wake cycle, Kogevinas said. They also reported the extent to which they followed cancer prevention recommendations such as limiting alcohol intake and avoiding smoking.
The results are striking, but Romaguera is cautiously optimistic, saying, "Further research in humans is needed in order to understand the reasons behind these findings, but everything seems to indicate that the timing of sleep affects our capacity to metabolize food".