It’s true: Your diet plays an important role in protecting us against certain cancers, including breast cancer. Here are 8 ways to eat to help prevent breast cancer.
Just thinking about breast cancer strikes fear in all of us, and especially if you have a family history. For breast cancer awareness month, we’ll focus on the diet and nutrition strategies to help you live cancer-free.
One in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime and more than 40,000 die from the disease every year.
8 Ways to Eat and Drink to Help Prevent Breast Cancer
Based on the latest research, here are strategies to help you live cancer-free.
Lose weight if overweight: Breast cancer is an estrogen-dependent cancer and fat cells produce estrogen, which may explain why overweight and obese women are at increased risk for breast cancer. Maintain a healthy BMI for your height throughout your adult years to reduce risk for most chronic diseases.
Limit or avoid alcohol. Among those at-risk for breast cancer alcohol appears to increase risk, even at one drink per day. The American Cancer Society says one drink per day is okay, but if you can go without, probably even better.
Eat more colorful fruits and veggies. Fruits and vegetables contain anti-cancer compounds while contributing essential vitamins, minerals (like selenium) and fiber without many calories so they help to maintain a healthy weight. Make meals and snacks plant-based and use animal products as flavor enhancers or condiments.
Up your D-Fense: Low blood levels of vitamin D have been linked with increased risk for the development of breast cancer. If you live in the northern 1/3 of the U.S., have dark skin or get minimal exposure to sunlight, chances are you have low levels of vitamin D. When I lived in NYC, my D levels where sub-par, and it hasn’t been until I lived in California for more than a year, when they are not at a healthy level. Natural sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, eggs and mushrooms. Dairy products and even some eggs are also fortified with vitamin D.
Move more. Regular physical activity appears to reduce risk. Aim for 45- 60 minutes a day for the most protection.
Minimize saturated fat. Limit saturated fats and trans fat in your diet and focus unsaturated omega 3s by having fish twice a week and use vegetable oils like extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.
Eat more whole grains: Whole grain consumption has been linked with reduced risk. IN addition, a high-fiber diet has also been associated with reduced risk. Strive for at least three whole grain servings and 25 grams fiber per day.
Enjoy soyfoods: It’s unclear how much soyfoods can provide protection, but including soymilk and soy alternatives to fatty meats will help cut the unhealthy saturated fat in your diet while providing those plant compounds present in soy that may offer disease protection.
Be sure to check out our Freebies today, as we’re giving away Bialetti pink Cookware!
–Julie Upton, MS, RD