Breast cancer is predicted to affect 1 in 8 women despite a declining trend in recent years and remains the #1 killer of young women. October has been dedicated to raising awareness to increase early detection of breast cancer for 3 decades. An area that could still use much more awareness is the importance of diet.
More doctors are embracing the reality that nutrition plays a vital role in all areas of health and breast cancer prevention is no exception. There are several foods women can include in their diet to reduce the risks of getting bresat cancer and increase the chances of survival if they do.
Does Soy Increase Breast Cancer Risk?
Doctors specializing in nutrition have said the fear of soy as it relates to breast cancer is no longer necessary. Not only has the science debunked the risks previously thought to be associated with soy (supposedly because of the estrogenic properties of soy components), it has shown there is possible benefit.
A study involving 9,500 women after breast cancer diagnosis showed a reduced risk of recurrence associated with consumption of isoflavones found in soybeans.
Another recent study in 11,000 breast cancer patients showed eating soy after diagnosis was correlated with lower mortality and lower relapse rates. The recommendations from The American Cancer Society still advocate moderate amounts of soy as a precaution.
Food Rich in Carotenoids
Eating foods with high concentrations of carotenoids such as Kale, sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, carrots and swiss chard is linked to lower recurrence of breast cancer. The carotenoids are powerful antioxidants and what give these vegetables their pigments.
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale) are also good sources of carotenoids.
Foods Rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Studies have shown fish high in omega 3 fatty acids to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and reduce rate of tumor growth. Patients receiving the highest levels of EPA and DHA experienced 25% fewer recurrences of breast cancer. Some of the best sources of EPA and DHA are salmon, cod, haddock, halibut and sardines. Supplementing with a quality, safe omega 3 supplement can be helpful in increasing intake to optimal levels. Omega 3 fatty acid consumption also lowers the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Avoid Processed Sources of Carbohydrates and Sugar
Diets lower in processed carbohydrates cause less inflammation in the body and less fat storage. Fat storage can cause elevated estrogen levels in the body. By ensuring you get adequate protein intake (to maintain your muscle, the calorie burning engine), healthy Omega 3 fat sources and only whole food sources of carbohydrates (such as vegetables, fruits, nuts) you will optimize your metabolic health.
Breast cancer survivors have increased risks of cardiovascular disease. Studies have been done using a low carb diet approach similar to Dr. Deepti’s protocols to measure the affect on cardio-metabolic risk factors such as insulin levels and C-reactive proteins. The results show that a low carb weight loss approach can substantially reduce these risks for breast cancer survivors.
Polyphenols, another Powerful Antioxidant
Check out this article to learn about the benefits of foods containing Polyphenols. These are some of nature’s most powerful antioxidants. Including good sources of polyphenols is a good idea for everyone, but especially those at increased risk for breast cancer. Antioxidants help your body eliminate free radicals, which are thought to contribute to cancer risks.