According to a recent study by researchers at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, increasing the amount of boron in the diet may help reduce the risk of women developing lung cancer. Boron is a little-studied mineral the body needs in trace amounts. It occurs naturally in avocados, peanuts, grapes, prune juice, apples, other fruits and vegetables, dried beans, coffee and the drinking water supply in many locations.

Researchers used data accumulated from 1995 to 2005 to look for associations between lung cancer, boron intake, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Past research has shown that HRT also decreases a woman's risk of developing lung cancer by about one-third but also increases her risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

The current study, led by Dr. Somdat Mahabir, found that women who had the least boron in their diet and who did not use HRT increased their risk of developing lung cancer by 92% when compared to women who had the highest dietary intake of boron and who used HRT. This difference in risk was most obvious in overweight women and those under age 60.

Researchers are not exactly sure why increasing boron in the diet decreases lung cancer risk, but suggest that boron may prevent cancer from developing by fighting inflammation. According to the research team, "Our findings suggest that boron from food sources in the typical US diet, with or without HRT use, offers protection against lung cancer in women."