Experts say that maintaining a healthy weight can lower your risk of developing breast cancer. But what you eat influences your breast cancer risk. Some foods have antioxidants while others lead to increased estrogen and inflammation.

New research suggests that what you eat after you've been diagnosed with breast cancer is also just as crucial. Women with invasive breast cancer who consumed better quality diets had a lower risk of death compared with other breast cancer patients who had lower quality diets, said the new study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Researchers studied 2,317 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50-79. These women had been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and completed a dietary questionnaire after their diagnoses; which looked at their frequency of eating, portion sizes, what kinds of fat they were eating, and their usual intake of fruits and vegetables. All the women completed the questionnaire at the beginning of the study, and several more times after. After an average follow-up of 9.6 years, 188 women had died of breast cancer while 227 women died of non-breast cancer causes.

Women with better quality diets had a 26% lower risk of death from any cause than women with poor diets. They also had a 42% lower risk of death from non-cancer causes. Interestingly, researchers did not find an association between diet quality and risk of death from breast cancer.

What this research essentially suggests is that adhering to suggested dietary guidelines can lower your risk of death after a breast cancer diagnosis. Even though researchers aren't sure what mechanism was responsible for this link, they found that women with better diets were also more physically active, reported lower daily calorie intake and lower weekly alcohol consumption, had higher levels of education and income, and had a lower BMI. All of those factors may have played a role in keeping these women healthy.