Two of the scariest words, “breast cancer”. To those who have been in this position, I’m sorry. CANCER SUCKS.
There are so many contributing factors to this diagnosis! It’s super important to note that no single food or diet can prevent breast cancer. Sorry, but want to keep it real! But research shows there are some foods you can incorporate into your diet to lower you risk.
Breast cancer is super complex! Some things that contribute to this diagnosis, you can’t control….I’m looking at you genetics, age, and family history. But some things you can control (or at least attempt to control), like weight, physical activity level, and smoking status. Did you know, research shows that lifestyle choices/dietary factors are responsible for 30% of ALL cancer?! Today we are going to walk through foods to include in your diet and foods to avoid.
So first and foremost, association is not causation. The below foods are recommended because there is an association of their consumption with a lower risk of cancer development. With that being said, research supports an increased consumption of:
Fresh fruits (especially berries)
Fresh veggies (dark veggies like kale, spinach, broccoli)
High fiber foods like whole grains, beans, legumes and pulses
Low fat diary
Eggs (and other foods high in Vitamin D)
Fish (salmon, oysters, herring, mackerel, sardines)
Soy (foods only, not supplements) – soy beans, tofu, soy milk
Outside of specific foods, there are certain dietary patterns associated with lower cancer diagnosis. Research shows the Mediterranean diet is associated with lower risk of developing breast cancer. Short story, this diet is plant based (so eat a ton of fruits and veggies), use plant based oils (yes, olive oil), have seafood twice a week, cheese and yogurt (but be mindful of portions), and enjoy nuts!
Ok, so we’ve talked about foods to incorporate, but what about foods to avoid? Remember, no one food causes cancer. But, again, there is some research and recommendations around which foods to avoid.
Alcohol (I know. Look, I’m sad too, but you need to know the science.)
Added sugar (please note, not naturally occurring sugars like those found in dairy and fruit, but added sugar. Think desserts, flavored yogurts, and more)
Processed meat and highly processed foods
Anything else you need to know? Yes! Other items to include/ tips that are associated with lowering your risk:
Green tea (1-4 cups a day)
4 hours per week of exercise or longer (brisk walking is just fine!)
Maintain your body weight (even a 10% weight gain increases your risk)
Remember, no one knows your body better than yourself! Do those monthly checks, stay on top of your wellness visits and don’t forget to get your mammo!!