Diet and Breast Cancer
September 01, 2015
The roll that diet plays in breast cancer has been the subject of intense research and debate over the last few years. Currently there is more research being completed in this area, which should lead to more conclusive evidence. Until then, here’s what we know:
- Certain fruits and vegetables especially those containing the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E may have protective effects against breast cancer.
- Fiber in fruits and vegetables—as well as whole grains—may have potential benefit. Fiber seems to lower the amount of estrogen circulating in the blood. Aim for at least 3 servings of fruits and 3 servings of vegetables in your daily diet with at least one citrus fruit (high in vitamin C) and a fruit/vegetable rich in carotenoids (easily identified by their rich dark green and orange/yellow/red colors.
- Good sources of Vitamin A and Beta Carotene include: sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, leafy dark greens, apricots, winter squash, red bell peppers, broccoli, mangos, tomatoes, asparagus, cherries, peaches, and papayas.
- Soy may also help prevent breast cancer. Soy contains substances called isoflavones or phytoestrogens that are chemically similar to the hormone estrogen. These isoflavones seem to interfere with the exposure of estrogen to breast cancer, which is believed to be the root of breast cancer. They are also effective in alleviating some menopausal symptoms and may be protective against many of the health risks facing post-menopausal women.
- Practicing moderate alcohol consumption is an all around safe proposition since some research has found heavy drinkers seem to have a higher risk for breast cancer.
- A high-fat diet may also be linked to breast cancer. It seems some research shows women on a low fat diet have breasts that are less dense. Obesity also seems to increase a woman’s risk. Until we learn more, the best advice is to follow a low fat diet and exercise regularly.