In 1998-2000, a case-control study of breast cancer was conducted in Heidelberg, Germany. Three hundred ten consecutively recruited cases with primary breast cancer were matched according to 10-yr age groups to 353 controls with conditions unrelated to diet or endocrine disorders. Intake of raw vegetables, total vegetables, and whole-grain products was inversely associated with breast cancer risk (highest vs. lowest quartile adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.51, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.31-0.84; OR = 0.62, 95% CI = 0.38-1.02; and OR = 0.57; 95% CI = 0.34-0.95, respectively). Also, high intake of some selected vitamins and minerals possessing putative DNA-stabilizing properties displayed significant inverse risk associations. Adjusted ORs were as follows: vitamin C (OR = 0.49, 95% CI = 0.2-0.88), folate equivalents (OR = 0.47, 95% CI = 0.25-0.88), b-carotene (OR = 0.46, 95% CI = 0.27-0.80), zinc (OR = 0.35, 95% CI = 0.15-0.78), and copper (OR = 0.51, 95% CI = 0.31-1.03). In contrast, no significant association with risk was seen for an increased intake of fruits, cooked vegetables, fiber, calcium, manganese, or iron. In this population of German women, components of raw vegetables and some micronutrients appear to decrease breast cancer risk.