Whether you are a woman or a man, many of us have been affected by breast cancer. If you haven’t personally had it or survived it, there is a good chance that you have known someone who has, or worse, has died from breast cancer. Maybe your mom was diagnosed with it, maybe your grandmother, maybe a sister, a wife or even a child. The reality is, breast cancer is serious and this October, in observation of Breast Cancer Awareness month, it pays to learn what you can do to prevent the disease.
For starters, your diet can have tremendous impact on lowering your risk for breast cancer. If you aren’t already, start incorporating these cancer fighting foods and habits into your daily lifestyle:
- Enjoy Healthy Fats: When it comes to fats, there are those that are healthy and those that aren’t. Those foods that contain monounsaturated fats and Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids, particularly, are cancer fighting food and are an important part of one’s diet. Studies have shown that women who consume monounsaturated fat and Omega-3 Fatty Acids have a lower risk of breast cancer than those who eat unhealthier fats, such as saturated fats and trans fats. Further, these fats are rich in antioxidants E and selenium which help fight cancer as well. Those fats you should avoid include saturated and hydrogenated fats, including whole dairy, butter, cheese, and red meat. Further, avoid partially hydrogenated oils, hydrogenated fats, corn and safflower oils. Instead, enjoy these cancer fighting foods:
- Load up on Legumes: Legumes, which include beans, peas and lentils, are extremely nutritious, low in fat, high in protein and fiber, and are rich in antioxidants. Studies show that women who consume legumes at least twice a week reportedly have lower rates of developing breast cancer than non bean-eaters.
- Eat the Colors of the Rainbow: Colorful fruits and vegetables protect your cells from “free radicals” – cancer-causing compounds – with their powerful antioxidants. Like legumes, fruit and vegetables are high in fiber as well. As a result, it pays to eat LOTS of these cancer fighting foods (a minimum of 7 to 9 servings a day). The more colorful the better:
- Deep-Orange foods (such as sweet potatoes, carrots, mangos, nectarines and apricots)
- Red Grapes
- Deep Green Leafy Vegetables (such as Spinach)
- Crunch Cruciferous Vegetables: Vegetables, as you probably would guess, contain tons of vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants making them super cancer fighting foods. Further, they offer tons of fiber, which helps fight colon cancer. Is a matter of fact, these foods are so healthy, you can eat as many of them as you want without any concerns. Here are some to try:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Mustard Greens
- Avoid Processed Foods: The more a food is manipulated, the less nutritional value it offers. Further, research shows that frequent consumption of processed food, including those that have artificial ingredients and preservatives have been linked to higher rates of cancer. Although it is best to avoid processed foods all together, especially avoid the following:
- Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners: Processed sugars (any sugar that doesn’t exist naturally – such as those sugars found in fruit or dairy), not only have little to no nutritional value, but displace good nutrition. Further, there is some research that suggests that cancer feeds off of sugar…meaning cancer thrives. Additionally, since artificial sweeteners continue to remain questionable as to their long-term safety and health impacts, it is best to avoid these as well.
- Processed Meat: Avoid bacon, sausages, breakfast meats, pepperoni, hot dogs and lunch meat.
- Limit Alcohol: Although alcohol in moderation can be good for you, drinking too much increases risk for breast cancer.
- Don’t Overdo the Grilling: Burnt meat or any food, for that matter, may increase breast cancer risk. When foods are cooked at high temperatures, a break down of the chemical structure of the food occurs which can create certain carcinogens.
Are you celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Do you incorporate cancer fighting foods into your diet?