Breast Cancer is something that can often be a far away thought for many of us until we are hit with a dose of reality. Mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, grandparents, friends -Breast Cancer does not discriminate. Whether you or a loved one has been diagnosed there are things we can all do to support one another and make our health a priority.
By changing our diet, lifestyle and investing time to really focus on our health we can not only protect ourselves against a Breast Cancer diagnosis and recurrence but also stave off a host of other potential chronic diseases.
Here are 6 ways diet can protect us from Breast Cancer:
Plant-Based Diet: This includes 10 servings of fruits and vegetables, high fiber whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. Fiber helps to eliminate carcinogens in our waste, assists with balancing hormone levels by excreting extra estrogen in our stool and assists with healthy weight management. Recommended intake is about 25-35 grams a day. A lifelong commitment to plant-based ideals have endless benefits.
Cruciferous Vegetables: Countless studies have proven that daily intake of cruciferous vegetables can reduce the risk of breast cancer from between 20%-40%! Aim for about 2 servings a day of items including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, brussels sprouts and turnips.
Antioxidants: Antioxidants help prevent oxidative damage, inhibits cell proliferation, boosts immunity and inhibits tumor growth. These items include Selenium (brazil nuts, whole grains), Vitamin C (broccoli, bell peppers, papaya, strawberries, citrus), Vitamin E (sweet potatoes, avocados), Turmeric, Resveratrol (grape products) and beta-carotene which is found in bright orange, yellow red and leafy green vegetables.
Fluids: Alcohol has been repeatedly shown to increase the incidence of breast cancer in women by as much as 40% with intake as low as 2 alcoholic beverages a week. Focus on moderation and/or special occasions and drink water as much as possible. Increased water consumption is needed when consuming a high fiber diet to avoid constipation. Green tea is also beneficial as it contains flavonoids that help DNA damage and breast cancer cell growth.
Fat: Limit the intake of highly saturated foods such as beef, lamb, organ meats and full fat dairy. Research has shown that diets lower in fat end up being higher in fiber and healthy proteins including omega-3-fatty acids. Not only are these heart healthy but they also inhibit the growth of tumors.
Vitamin D: Many of us require supplementation when we are not exposed to sun in the fall and winter months. Vitamin D intake is related to reduced risk of breast cancer and a number of other chronic diseases in addition to depression.
Trishna Joshi, RDN
The Fresh Diet