Eating for your Breast Health
Breast health, like many other aspects of our health, can be positively impacted by a healthy diet. While breast cancer is sometimes genetic or related to environmental and hormonal factors, we can take preventative measures into our own hands, and stomachs! How? By eating powerful, cancer-fighting foods to support a healthy immune system and help protect our bodies against breast cancer and other forms of cancer. Eating well, in addition to regular exercise, also helps maintain a healthy body mass index, which lowers the risk of obesity-related breast cancer. A professor at the University of California’s School of Medicine even estimates that women can reduce their chances of breast cancer by up to two-thirds with good nutrition and weight management.
If you think eating for breast health means bland and boring foods, or entails crazy concoctions think again. It can actually be quite tasty. You probably eat many of these foods already and don’t even realize how good they are for your body. We’re breaking down the best, or should we say breast foods here:
Antioxidants combat free radicals in our bodies by protecting cells and allowing them to fight infections and disease. Antioxidants are found in many colorful fruits and berries such as blueberries, strawberries, acai berries, plums and peaches. Many of these fruits have the ability to kill breast cancer cells without harming healthy cells. Coffee also has a high antioxidant content, so feel free to latte a-lot-te.
Omega-3 fats reduce inflammation, which can be the root cause for many diseases including cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. By selecting anti-inflammatory foods, we can help our bodies stay nimble to function properly and attack potentially damaging foreign invaders. Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna are chock full of omega-3s, as are walnuts, flaxseeds, moringa and leafy green vegetables.
Regularly eating a high-fiber diet can reduce the risk of breast cancer by about seven percent, on average. Fiber-rich cereals are a good start, but also look for natural sources of fiber, such as legumes – beans, peas, lentils, edamame – avocado, artichokes and fruits with edible skin, like apples.
You may not be familiar with the term, but you certainly know these greens, which include broccoli, kale, cabbage and bok choy. They contain the compound sulforaphane, which is believed to prevent the spread of tumors. Cruciferous veggies are usually best served cooked.
Researchers have found that vitamin D and calcium in diary products lower breast density. Women with higher breast density are significantly more likely to develop breast cancer. But be sure to select low-fat dairy options, including yogurt, lighter cheeses and milk.
As with any healthy diet, be sure to watch your intake of saturated fat. Substitute heavy cooking oils and butter with olive oil or sprays. Maintaining a healthy weight for your body is an important preventative measure. Also, avoid excessive alcohol consumption and smoking, as they also increase risk of cancer.
Bon Apetite, and cheers to your breast health!