We are honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October by bringing you the latest research on foods to prevent cancer. Approximately 12% of women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute. While there is no magic bullet to prevent cancer, there are certainly diet and lifestyle choices that have been shown to reduce risk factors.
Add More: Fiber
Standard American diets are high in processed foods and low in fiber. A study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that for every 10 grams of fiber added daily, breast cancer risk decreased by 7%. Replace processed carbohydrates with high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans.
Cut Back On: Alcohol
Compared with non-drinkers, women who have two to five drinks a day are 50% more likely to develop breast cancer. Not to mention alcohol itself, beer, wine and sugary mixers can all contribute to weight gain. The American Cancer Society clearly states that being overweight after menopause increases breast cancer risk.
Cut Back On: Saturated Fats
An overview of 45 studies reported that women who had more fats in their diet had increased breast cancer risk. Cancer Research UK reports that women who ate higher levels of saturated fats had double the risk of breast cancer compared to those eating the least. Healthy fats like those found in avocados, eggs, fish, nuts and nut oils are part of a healthy diet. Supplementing additional omega-3 essential fatty acids has also been shown to help weight loss and support health. Try Omega-Slim Essential Fatty Acids today!
A healthy diet filled with whole foods can also help lower your risk factors. Foods that fight cancer are all part of an overall healthy diet, and sadly, no one has found a link between your favorite sweets and a reduced risk of breast cancer. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), the best cancer fighting foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans. The most recent AICR research recommends adding the following anti-cancer foods to your weekly grocery list:
These include bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale and radishes. These power veggies are rich in nutrients and fiber and contain biologically active compounds including indoles and isothiocyanates, which have been shown to inhibit cancer development in rats and mice.
Researchers are still trying to determine the association between these vegetables and cancer in humans, but a handful of studies have shown positive effects on prostate, colorectal, lung and breast cancer.
The delicious blueberries, raspberries and strawberries that brighten up your salad and oatmeal may also protect against certain types of cancer. Berries contain high levels of vitamin C and fiber, both of which are related to reduced cancer rates, according to a report titled Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective.
Blueberries contain power antioxidant compounds known as anthocyanosides. Strawberries and raspberries are rich in ellagic acid, which helps the body deactivate specific carcinogens and slows cancer cell reproduction. Strawberries also contain flavonoids, which some research has linked to similar anti-cancer properties.
Along with providing a tasty crunch, walnuts may be one of the top anti-cancer foods. Several studies in mice have shown walnut consumption resulted in decreased breast and colon tumor growth (compared to animals eating a standard diet). It’s a safe bet to say including walnuts (or walnut oil, as recommended by our STEP Integrated Foods list) in your regular diet is a beneficial choice for your health.
As researchers continue to study cancer, we hope to learn more about how we can change our behaviors and environmental factors to reduce our risks. Maintaining a healthy weight and proper nutrition are the most important ways to protect against cancer, according to AICR experts. Which is just one more reason to take the first step toward a healthier lifestyle.