Eating Healthy for Breast Cancer Prevention Month
October is Breast Cancer Prevention Month. And according to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the U.S., showing up at a rate of 30% (1 in 3) of all new female cancer diagnoses. A few more eye-catching 2022 estimates include:
-“About 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women
-About 51,400 new cases of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) will be diagnosed
-About 43,250 women will die from breast cancer”
Mammograms and other breast cancer screening methods are important for the early detection of breast cancer. In addition, there are other things you can do to help prevent its occurrence in your life, such as being intentional about what you put in your body.
Try These Foods
Consider adding some of these healthy foods into your diet and recipes during and beyond breast cancer prevention month.
You already know that leafy greens are good for you, but you may not have known just how impactful they can be in breast cancer prevention. These vegetables contain carotenoid antioxidants, including beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, folate, and B vitamins. All of these are believed to protect – and fight – breast cancer.
Leafy greens to add to your diet regularly include kale, arugula, spinach, mustard greens, and chard.
Foods that have gone through the fermentation process and are full of probiotics seem to reduce the risk of breast cancer, according to many dozens of studies. Plus, they are known to be immune-enhancing, too, which helps the body fight.
Fermented foods include yogurt, kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, and others.
Glucosinolate compounds can be converted into isothiocyanates which are molecules that have the potential to fight cancer. And they are found in veggies like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Consuming these on a regular basis may reduce your risk of breast cancer.
There are so many different types of beans and so many things you can do with them. They have a lot of fiber, minerals, and vitamins that are thought to offer protection against cancer. In fact, one study found that women with a high bean intake reduced their risk of breast cancer by as much as 20%. Another study found that it could reduce risk by up to 28%.
Eat more beans!
Increased consumption of omega-3 and omega-6 is thought to reduce your chance of breast cancer – maybe even by up to 14%. This has been studied several different times, with results all being the same. Fatty fish also provides you with selenium and antioxidants that seem to protect against cancer.
The fish to consider include sardines, salmon, and mackerel.
These fruits have compounds that may protect against breast cancer, including folate, vitamin c, carotenoids, and certain flavonoid antioxidants. As a result, you get antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Regular consumption of citrus fruits, such as tangerines, oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes, may reduce breast cancer by up to 10%, according to some studies.
Berries are very beneficial for the body, even potentially reducing your risk of certain cancers. They contain antioxidants, such as flavonoids and anthocyanins, that work to minimize cell damage – as well as the spread of cancer cells. Plus, higher fiber intake (in which blueberries are a great source) is thought to lower estrogen receptor negative (ER-) breast cancer, according to one study.
We talked about berries and citrus, but now we are referring to peaches, apples, and pears. Fruits like these (and perhaps all fruits) have shown great promise in protecting against breast cancer. Many studies have been done to conclude this.
One study, in particular, shows that two servings of peaches per week could reduce ER- breast cancer risk by up to 41%!
Similar benefits are shown with apples and pears, too. It is all about the antioxidants that inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
A high intake of onions, garlic, and leeks have also been shown to reduce breast cancer risk. They contain organosulfur compounds, flavonoids, and vitamin c – all of which seem to work against cancer.
More research may still need to be done in this category, but so far, the studies and their results are looking positive.
Avoid These Foods
Just as there are foods you should be eating to boost your body’s ability to prevent breast cancer, there are a few foods that you should avoid, too. These have been known to potentially increase your risk. If you cannot remove them entirely from your diet, consider reducing your intake.
Studies show that there may be a link between alcohol use and an increased risk for breast cancer.
Researchers are finding a common link between large consumption of fried foods and breast cancer diagnosis.
Added sugars increase inflammation in the body, which allows certain enzymes related to the spread and growth of cancer to be released.
There is nothing good about fast food for your body. Not only does it increase your breast cancer risk, but it also increases your risk for things like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Consuming high levels of processed meat, like bacon, lunch meat, and sausage, can increase your risk – a 9% greater chance, according to studies.
Diets full of refined carbs seem to play a significant role in breast cancer risk.
Eating Better for Breast Cancer Prevention Month
We can’t always control what our bodies do when it comes to illnesses and cancers, but we can control the things that we eat and the way we care for our bodies. Eating foods that have a positive impact on our overall system, as well as avoiding those that could potentially be dangerous, is a simple step we can take. And that means eating more fatty fish and fruits and less fast food and sugar.
Sadly, breast cancer makes its way into the lives of many families in one way or another. And taking steps to prevent that from happening is key. Change the things you consume and always follow up with your screening.