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The more that you learn,
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Dr. Seuss,  I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Certain Foods to Avoid and Choose to Prevent Breast Cancer

Although there is no specific diet that can guarantee a life without breast cancer, certain foods are considered to be probable bad actors with properties that may have effects on the biological pathways that lead to cancer.  If you are a woman hoping to learn how to reduce risk factors associated with developing breast cancer, one of the first places, to begin with, is the evaluation of the types of food you consume–by avoiding or eating less of foods with negative effects and eating more foods with protective effects.

3 Possible Bad Actors

If these three foods make up a large portion of your daily meals, it may be time to start re-thinking the amounts you ingest. None of these foods have been found to directly cause cancer; however, they made our list because large amounts don’t help in making you healthy. If anything, they increase inflammation and can cause weight gain, which can increase your risk of postmenopausal breast cancer.

1) Processed Foods: These are your cold cuts and processed meats, which are cured with nitrate. These foods are typically loaded with salt, preservatives and not to mention high- fat. Reducing or eliminating as many processed foods as possible from your diet is a good idea, not only for reducing cancer risk but also your waistline and blood pressure.

2) Red Meat: It’s okay to have a juicy steak now and again, but as with most things in life, moderation is key. An observational study released by the Harvard School of Public Health in 2014, found that women who consumed a large amount of red meat in adolescence or early adulthood had an increased risk of later developing breast cancer. For example, one serving per day increment in red meat consumption during adolescence was associated with a 22% higher risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer and each serving per day increment during early adulthood was associated with a 13% higher risk of breast cancer overall. The Nurses’ Health Study II also showed an increased risk of developing premenopausal breast in women who consumed a high-fat diet in their teens. This does not mean you have to renounce red meat completely, but it is a good idea to entertain other protein sources like poultry, fish, and legumes.

3) High Fat Diet: A research study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, performed in Europe on more than 335,000 women, for over 11 years in 10 countries, found an association between a high-fat diet and breast cancer risk. They found that women who consumed diets high in saturated fats had a 30 percent increased risk of developing breast cancer subtypes: Estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) positive. The theory behind this is that the increase in estrogen levels, caused by high dietary fat intake, can stimulate breast cancer cell growth. It is generally recommended that fats make up no more than 10 percent of a woman’s total caloric intake.

3 Powerhouse Foods

All is not lost. There are foods out there that you can enjoy and also have great health benefits. These powerhouse foods may not be making it to your grocery list:

1) Omega 3 foods: Foods high in omega 3 fatty acids give you a bang for your buck. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, and rightly so. They are essential because you have to eat them, your body can’t make them. They have anti-inflammatory properties which promote cardiovascular and immune health. Research has also shown they can have positive effects on protecting against cancer. Next time you’re at the grocery store consider reaching for some beans, wild rice and fatty fish loaded with omega-3 fatty acids like sardines, herring, salmon, and mackerel.

2) Walnuts: Drop the potato chips and begin snacking on these healthy nuts!  Walnuts are a great snack food that packs a punch. They have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties that improve cardiovascular health, protect against diabetes and help reduce the risk of cancers like prostate and breast cancer. Walnuts should be eaten in snack-sized portions. Eating more than a handful can quickly add up in calories.

3) Green Tea: Originating from China, green tea is one of those simple things you can ingest that go a long way with a multitude of benefits. Long touted as a healthy preventative for many illnesses, green tea contains polyphenols which have the unique ability to inhibit the proteins believed to be responsible for promoting irregular cellular growth and migration. It is also felt to help with weight loss, depression, and high blood pressure. Take full advantage of this wonderful simple beverage.