In the last 10 years, scientific evidence has given women real hope that breast cancer may be preventable. We are no longer powerless to do anything to prevent the disease. Studies now indicate a healthy lifestyle plan that gives women of all ages strategies to defend themselves against breast cancer. Nutrition is emerging as one of the powerful tools to prevent this disease or to minimize its intensity. Although these changes provide no guarantee, they certainly give us a major start toward breast cancer prevention. Here are some prevention strategies.
MAINTAIN IDEAL WEIGHT
Nothing lowers risk as much as this strategy. Weight gain later in life, especially after menopause, substantially increases risk. Excessive fatty tissue increases circulating estrogen in the body; breast cancer is linked to how much estrogen we are exposed to in our lifetimes.
There is now a strong link between alcohol and breast cancer. The type of alcohol does not matter, but the amount does. Limit to one drink per day (5 ounces of wine or 1 ounce of hard liquor). Every drink above that amount raises risk by 35 percent! For those considered to be at high risk for breast cancer, it is recommended to avoid alcohol completely.
EAT LESS FAT OVERALL
Replace unhealthy fats with healthy ones such as those high in Omega 3 oils, such as flax seed, fish, nuts, and seeds, as well as olive and canola oils.
EAT YOUR FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
Think of produce as “edible medicine” and eat seven to 10 servings per day. Fruits and vegetables contain protective antioxidants and cancer-fighting phytochemicals that your body needs daily.
AVOID TOXINS IN FOOD
Use organic dairy, meats, and poultry when possible. Avoid all nitrate-preserved foods such as deli meat, bacon, and sausage. Eat organic produce when possible.
Try for three to seven meals per week using vegetarian proteins such as beans, lentils, nuts and nut butters, high protein pasta with vegetables, and unprocessed soy foods. Since soy is still controversial, limit soy foods to no more than two servings per day and avoid high concentrations through soy supplements.
October is national Breast Cancer Awareness month.