There are lots of studies taking place where researchers analyze data looking for links between the foods we eat and lowering our risk for cancer. If you’re a girl and you love peanut butter, a recent study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is a dream come true.

The study found that girls who eat peanut butter regularly from the ages of 9 to 15 lower their risk for developing breast cancer later in life.

The findings are based on the health histories of 9,039 U.S. girls enrolled in The Growing Up Today Study from 1996 through 2001. Later, from 2005 through 2010, when the study participants were 18 to 30 years old, they reported whether they had been diagnosed with benign breast disease that had been confirmed by breast biopsy.

The researchers found that participants who ate peanut butter or nuts two times each week were 39 % less likely to have developed benign breast disease than those who never ate them. The study’s findings also suggest that beans, lentils, soybeans and corn also may help prevent benign breast disease, but consumption of these foods was much lower in these girls and thus the evidence was weaker.

Other studies have shown an association between eating peanut butter, nut and vegetable fat to a lower risk for benign breast disease as well. The other studies have asked participants to recall what they ate during their high school years. This study is the first to use reports made during adolescence, with continued follow-up as cases of benign breast disease are diagnosed in young women.

"These findings suggest that peanut butter could help reduce the risk of breast cancer in women," said senior author Graham Colditz, associate director for cancer prevention and control at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.

Colditz also recommended that young girls replace high-calorie junk foods and sugary beverages with peanut butter or nuts.

The research was published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

While peanut butter and nuts may contain healthier fats, they are also high in calories - so try not get carried away. You may still need to be a little more conservative in portion size than you want to be.  Otherwise, enjoy!

Sources: Michelle Castillo,