How is your diet linked to breast cancer?

As many people know, October is national breast cancer awareness month.  With pink ribbons all around it is hard for me to ignore the fact that a person's diet is affecting their risk for developing breast cancer as well as affecting the long term survival of those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Research has shown a low incidence of Breast cancer in cultures where the diet is mostly plant based. Immigrants who have abandoned their diets of soy, rice and vegetables and adapted the Western diet of meat, diary and fat have an increase in the incidence of Breast cancer.

There has been theories that folate (in fruits and vegetables) may be protective against Breast cancer. The increase in body fat is known to increase circulating estrogens in the body and overall increase the risk of breast cancer. Diet also plays a role in the age menarchy begins in women, thus increasing the years of estrogen exposure and increasing overall breast cancer risk. With this said, how can a healthy women decrease her risk of breast cancer through her diet

Reducing Breast Cancer risk with diet:

Limit the cosmos ladies
  • Maintain a healthy body weight: Both a Women’s health initiative and Swedish Mammography cohort studies have shown a link of Breast cancer and obesity

  • Reduce/eliminate Alcohol: alcohol drinking has a direct increase of Breast Cancer. This may be due to the effects alcohol has on sex hormone levels Limit drinks to 1 glass of wine or one beer a day. This may be due to the effects alcohol has on sex hormone levels

  • Reduce Meat: higher intakes of red meat (more than 5-7 servings/week compared to 3/week or greater than 2oz/day) may be associated with increased Breast Cancer. High intake of any processed meats may be linked with increased Breast Cancer

  • Reduce Fat: Increased dietary fat (40% of daily calories) especially from dairy, red meat, and saturated fat can increase risk of Breast Cancer.

Pink fruits and veggies- YUM
  • Increase Fiber: Fiber interrupts the circulation of estrogens in the body. High fiber, low fat diets decrease the overall estrogen in the body. Fiber also decreases blood sugars and lowers Diabetes risks which also decreases breast cancer risk.

  • Increase Fruits, Vegetables, legumes: they have folic acid, fiber, isoflavones and lignans that all help the body fight off breast cancer

In Summary, eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables and limited in fat,meat, dairy and alcohol has been shown to decrease breast cancer risks.



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