There are many factors which influence the chances of getting breast cancer, many of them are out of your control. Genetics, age and pure chance are among those factors. However, lifestyle can also play a part in the risk of getting breast cancer, which is something you can control.
Your diet is the best place to start when it comes to disease prevention. Remember that an active lifestyle that involves a good mix of cardio and strength training will benefit you as a woman.
There have been many fantastic studies conducted to find out which foods can boost your chances of avoiding breast cancer.
We have put together a list of eight foods which you can easily and affordably add to your diet (or increase your intake of them) to help lower your risk of breast cancer.
1. Bright Vegetables: Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli
Dark, leafy greens are the hero of the produce world, but orange and red veggies are also very worthy of praise. Brightly-colored vegetables contain carotenoids which are a group of nutrients which have been proven to help fight against the development of cancer cells.
Broccoli, kale, sweet potatoes, carrots and bell peppers are all great sources of carotenoids. Veggies such as these are also fantastic sources of dietary fiber which, as you will learn below, is also important in the fight against many cancers. Roasted, steamed, sautéed or stir-fried, there are so many ways to incorporate brightly-colored veggies into your diet.
2. Beans and Lentils
Dietary fiber is very important for overall health, but it can also help to lower the risk of breast cancer. Beans and lentils are one of the best sources of dietary fiber. Fiber not only keeps you regular, but it helps to regulate levels of good and bad cholesterol.
Fiber can also help to maintain a healthy weight, which in turn, lowers the risk of developing breast cancer. Interestingly, fiber can also help the body to manage high levels of estrogen by encouraging excess estrogen to be rid from the body, (high estrogen levels have been linked to higher risks of breast cancer). Beans and lentils are affordable and incredibly versatile. Throw some canned lentils into your soups and salads, or make a vegetarian chili packed with black beans and kidney beans.
3. Salmon and Fish
Not only is salmon rich and delicious, it can help to prevent breast cancer. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish (especially salmon) help to prevent cancer-causing presences in the body. Oily fish is also great for brain health and skin health. Vitamin D is an important vitamin to maintain healthy levels of for cancer prevention, and salmon is a wonderful source of vitamin D. Pan fry a fillet of salmon and serve with crunchy broccoli and a drizzle of olive oil – a perfect dinner for fighting breast cancer and promoting great general health.
4. Edamame Beans
You may be surprised to find a soy-based food on this list. Soy has been a heavily-debated topic when it comes to cancer prevention, as it has been thought to be harmful as opposed to helpful. Soy contains isoflavones, which are thought to encourage estrogen levels to increase. High estrogen levels can accelerate breast cancer cell growth, so it was thought that soy was also heavily connected to breast cancer.
However, recent studies have found that soy is beneficial, especially for cancer survivors and women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Studies have been conducted among Asian women who consume high amounts of soy as a part of their daily diet, and they were found to be less at risk of getting breast cancer than women who ate less soy.
Tofu and edamame beans are great sources of soy. Throw some fried tofu into a veggie-packed stir fry and snack on edamame beans as a starter or morning tea.
5. Olive Oil
As this article explains, a healthy overall diet and healthy weight are some the best ways to combat breast cancer as opposed to specific cooking ingredients. However, it also outlines the beneficial properties of using olive oil as a staple in your healthy diet.
Olive oil has countless benefits, namely, the high polyphenol content which helps to stop cancer cells from growing. Use olive oil as your oil of choice for cooking and salad dressings.
Yes, the humble apple is not so humble after all. Studies have been conducted to find out just how beneficial apples are, and it turns out, very. Much of the “goodness” comes from the skin of the apple, as it contains a very high number of antioxidants and other cancer-fighting nutrients such as flavonoids.
Add an apple to your breakfast or lunch, or simply eat one as a fresh snack, but remember never to throw away the peel.
Garlic is known for its antibacterial properties and flu-fighting abilities. But, it’s not as commonly-known that garlic is actually a high contender as a cancer-preventing ingredient.
Garlic is a great source of antioxidants and immunity-boosting nutrients. Add whole, unpeeled cloves of garlic to your roasted veggies or meats. This makes for soft, sweet garlic cloves which can be eaten whole or chopped and added to salads or sauces.
It may surprise you to know that walnuts are an absolute powerhouse of health-promoting nutrients and cancer-fighting properties. Walnuts are full of Omega-3’s and antioxidants which are not only great for disease-prevention, but for skin health and anti-aging too.
Fascinatingly, it’s been found that walnuts can actually have direct influence on the genes. Cancer-suppressing genes can be activated by walnuts, while pro-cancer genes can be deactivated. Snack on raw walnuts and add them to your oatmeal, salads and granola.
Add fresh, whole and nutrient-dense foods to your diet and aim to eat dark, leafy greens every day. Keeping sugary and processed foods to a minimum is also very important when lowering the risk of getting breast cancer.
Make sure you are getting sufficient exercise and of healthy weight. When it comes to exercising, mix it up and just don’t rely on running to lose weight.
Consider taking a natural weight loss supplement like Ultra Omega Burn if you need an extra boost in shedding the excess pounds.
Place a list of these eight foods (and more!) on your fridge and aim to add at least a few of them to your menu every day. Find delicious and exciting recipes which incorporate these foods so you can enjoy them meal after meal.
And lastly, always get yourself checked as soon as possible if you are concerned about a change in your breasts.
Mich is a 38-year-old semi-professional sports person who enjoys extreme ironing, drone photography and ferret racing. She is fit and disciplined, has a degree in sports science and has a severe phobia of cats.