In addition to other contributing factors, dietary choices may effect the development of breast cancer. There is considerable evidence that avoiding fatty foods can help prevent the disease, as well as eating foods that are rich in cancer-fighting vitamins, minerals and chemicals. Additionally, certain foods may diminish the recurrence of breast cancer and lessen the adverse effects of treatment once diagnosed with the disease. While eating foods loaded with antioxidants and other nutrients may stave off breast cancer, maintaining a healthy diet is key.
According to Medical News Today, breast cancer is the seventh leading cause of mortality in the United States and results in approximately 41,000 deaths each year. Although genetic factors are important, there is considerable evidence that breast cancer risk is related to modifiable lifestyle factors, including dietary choices. While no single food or food substances can protect you against breast cancer, scientists believe that the right combination of foods may.
According to a new study conducted by the American Institute for Cancer Research/World Cancer Research Fund (AICR/WCRF), there is a link between body fat and the development of breast cancer. Therefore, to help prevent breast cancer, one should consume foods low in fat and calories. Also, fruits, vegetables and whole grains are especially rich in vitamins, minerals and chemicals that prevent the development of cancer. Specifically, green, yellow, orange and red vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes and carrots contain substances which help to fight cancer. Red fruits such as tomatoes and watermelon are a source of lycopene, a cancer-fighting agent. Berries and green tea are rich sources of antioxidants. Additionally, flax, fish, beans, soy and nuts all contain nutrients which help to fight breast cancer.
In addition to eating at least five servings of fruits or vegetables everyday, according to The Diet Channel, those that have already been diagnosed with breast cancer should replace white or processed carbohydrates with whole grain varieties to increase B vitamins and fiber. Post-diagnosis, patients should also eat two to three servings of low fat dairy daily because cancer treatment may negatively effect bone health. It is important to incorporate calcium-rich foods into one’s diet. Lean meats, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, legumes and beans should be incorporated into meals to ensure an adequate amount of protein is consumed.
Foods to Avoid
Because of the link between obesity and breast cancer, ReduceBreastCancerRisk.com recommends that saturated fats found in meats, whole-fat dairy products, vegetable shortening and coconut and palm oils, as well as trans fats in fried foods, pastries, margarine, cookies, chips, crackers and many processed foods should be avoided. Additionally, because alcohol may act to promote cancer by depleting folic acid, having more than one drink a day increases one’s risk of developing breast cancer.
According to the AICR/WCRF study, over 70,000 U.S. breast cancer cases could be prevented each year by dietary changes. Breast cancer rates vary in different parts of the world, and the incidence seems to be associated with the amount of fat in the diet. Even more striking, when women move from a country where the diet is low in fat to a country where fat consumption is higher, their risk for breast cancer increases. While foods rich in cancer-fighting vitamins, minerals and chemicals also help to prevent breast cancer, maintaining a healthy diet appears to be a key component in warding off the disease.