The exact cause of breast cancer is still unknown. The condition can affect anyone at any given time. However, it does not mean you cannot do any steps for breast cancer prevention.
While there is still no scientific data showing the exact cause of breast cancer, there are risk factors that you can look out for. Some of these are uncontrolled, such as age or family history of cancer. With that said, many risk factors of breast cancer can be managed. One of the things that you can control is maintaining a healthy weight.
Achieving and maintaining an ideal weight comes with not only an active lifestyle but a healthy and balanced diet. Not all types of diet are assured to prevent breast cancer. Even if there is not one specific food known to cause cancer, there are various food groups you can consume to keep your health in check.
With so much information out there, it can be confusing to know what food you need to consume. To help you, here is a list of things to include in your diet to prevent breast cancer. This also includes foods that you may want to stay away from.
Diet to Prevent Breast Cancer
1. Leafy Green Vegetables
A study, participated by 91,779 women, found that greens can be added to your diet to prevent breast cancer development by 15%. Leafy green vegetables, in particular, contain carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These carotenoid antioxidants are associated with breast cancer risk reduction. Furthermore, women with higher carotenoids levels are less likely to develop the condition, compared to those with lower levels.
Green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, arugula and mustard greens are said to have anti-cancer properties.
2. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables consist of glucosinolate compounds. The body converts the said compound into molecules called isothiocyanates, which have significant anti-cancer potential.
Vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli are great additions to each meal.
3. Allium Vegetables
Allium vegetables such as garlic, onion, and leeks have anti-cancer properties. It includes organosulfur compounds, flavonoid antioxidants, and vitamin C.
A study among 285 women states that high garlic and leek consumption may reduce the risk of breast cancer. It also shows a positive association between high intake of cooked onions and cancer prevention.
4. Fatty Fish
Asides from vegetables, proteins such as fatty fish, provide significant health benefits. Seafood like salmon, sardines, and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fats, selenium, and antioxidants like canthaxanthin.
By balancing your omega-3 (from fatty fish) to omega-6 (from processed meat) ratio, you are building a diet to prevent breast cancer development.
Beans are rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals, especially fibre that may protect you against breast cancer. Study shows that high bean consumption can reduce breast cancer risks by up to 20%.
6. Citrus Fruits
Another thing to add to your diet to prevent breast cancer is citrus fruits. Citrus is rich with compounds that protect you against breast cancer. Nutrients found in these fruits provide antioxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory effects.
Nutritional properties such as folate, vitamin C, and flavonoid antioxidants (like quercetin, hesperetin, and naringenin) can be found in citrus fruits. Like green leafy vegetables, citrus also contains carotenoids, including cryptoxanthin and beta carotene.
Regularly consume foods such as orange, lemon, lime, tangerine, and grapefruit.
Instead of indulging in unhealthy treats, why not snack on berries instead. Berries are said to help lower risk of different types of cancers, including breast cancer. It has antioxidants, like flavonoids and anthocyanins, that protects your body against cellular damage. These antioxidants also prevent the spread and development of cancer cells.
8. Peaches, Apples, and Pears
Other fruits to add in your diet to prevent breast cancer includes peaches, apples, and pears.
It is said that consuming at least two servings of peaches per week reduces breast cancer risk by 41%. Furthermore, a study, participated by 272,098 women, associated apple and pear to lower breast cancer risk.
9. Fermented Foods
A diet to prevent breast cancer is not just about the food itself, but also its preparation. Fermented foods contain probiotics and other nutrients that protect you from breast cancer. Items such as yoghurt, kimchi, miso, and sauerkraut can be included in your meal plan.
10. Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices add not only nutrition but also flavour to your diet to prevent breast cancer. Herbs like parsley, rosemary, oregano, and thyme, and spices such as turmeric, curry, and ginger, have anti-cancer compounds. It includes vitamins, fatty acids, and polyphenol antioxidants.
Oregano boosts the antioxidants carvacrol and rosmarinic acid, which is said to fight breast cancer cells. Turmeric contains curcumin, known for its anti-cancer properties. Similarly, parsley has flavonoid that also helps reduce breast cancer risk.
Diet to Avoid to Prevent Breast Cancer
Heavy drinking can lead to developing breast cancer. Alcohol increases estrogen levels and damages the DNA. As a result, breast cancer risk goes up by about 10% with each alcoholic drink per day.
2. Added Sugar
A diet high in added sugar is not the way to go if you want to prevent breast cancer. Sugar increases the risk of cancer by increasing inflammation in the body. Furthermore, it generates particular enzymes related to cancer growth and spread.
3. Fried Foods
Not all fats are bad for your health. With that said, excessive fat from fried foods increases the risk of breast cancer. Trans fats are a type of fat linked to higher cancer risk. It is commonly found in fried foods such as crackers, doughnuts, and especially in fast food products. Limit your trans fat intake as much as possible.
4. Refined Carbs
Refined carbs may increase cancer risks. Instead of your typical white bread and sugary baked goods, include whole-grain products to your diet to prevent breast cancer.
5. Processed Foods
Processed foods such as bacon and sausage can lead to cancer when consumed regularly, in large quantities. Studies show that processed meats, like those mentioned, increase breast cancer risk by 9%.
Those are some of the foods you may want to add and avoid for your diet to prevent breast cancer. Remember, maintaining a diet doesn’t mean you need to deprive yourself of food. You can still indulge in your meals; just make sure they are nutritious and balanced.