Fighting Breast Cancer With Food

A Healthier Michigan

| 3 min read

It’s been said before, but the simple truth is that a well-balanced diet is instrumental to long-term health. Though healthy eating cannot completely prevent every kind of disease and illness, it certainly goes a long way in reducing the risk of many ailments, including breast cancer.
The American Cancer Society recommends eating a variety of five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day while limiting processed and high-fat foods. Further research shows that closer to nine servings per day can help prevent or fight cancer. However, there are certain foods that carry more benefits, specifically toward breast health and the immune system. Here's a list of them:
Leafy Greens: Women with higher levels of carotenoids (vitamin A) in their bloodstreams are at a reduced risk for breast cancer. Carotenoids are found in many dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale, but they can also be obtained by eating sweet potatoes, carrots, red peppers and winter squash. There are 600 different kinds of carotenoids and they are most commonly found in orange, yellow, red and dark green fruits and vegetables.
Grains and Beans: An increased fiber intake can help prevent the risk of breast cancer according to a report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. For every 10 grams of fiber a woman added to her daily diet, her risk of breast cancer decreased by seven percent. Fiber-filled foods include whole grains, vegetables, legumes, beans, barley and lentils.
Salmon: Nutrition experts recommend skipping red meat and processed meats as a part of an anti-cancer diet, and there’s no better protein substitute than fish, which is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. A 2011 study in the American Journal of Nutrition indicated that consumption of the the acids found in fatty fish is associated with improved breast cancer diagnosis. These fats reduce inflammation that may contribute to breast cancer. Eat about eight ounces of oily fish every week to garner these benefits. Other fatty fish like mackerel and sardines provide some of these same health benefits.
Broccoli: Sulforaphane — a compound found in broccoli — can inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, according to studies. Other cruciferous vegetables like brussels sprouts and cauliflower offer the same benefit and also block tumor growth to prevent further spread of the cancer. Be sure to eat these vegetables raw or lightly steamed, as boiling can destroy some of the sulforaphane properties.
Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits are chockful of vitamin C, calcium, folate and other nutrients that may prevent and fight breast cancer. Researchers behind a 2013 Journal of Breast Cancer stated that women who ate plenty of citrus fruits were 10% less likely to get breast cancer.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
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