Loading your plate with a rainbow of fruits and veggies is the foundation of a breast cancer prevention diet, and these same food choices can also help you live better after a breast cancer diagnosis.Food choices can make a big difference — but the ways in which we cook and clean the kitchen are also key.
Although drinking fluids is absolutely crucial to good health, and water is often the healthiest – certainly the lowest-calorie – option, using tap water rather than bottled water is important for both our health and for the health of our environment. If taste is an issue, filtered tap water is a solution.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has predicted that by 2020 the number of breast cancer cases will jump to an alarming figure and one in every eight women would run the risk of developing the disease in her lifetime.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) too, concluded that over the last two decades there has been a steep rise in the statistics pertaining to women being diagnosed with breast cancer. So grave is the scenario that in India, breast cancer has been declared the most common form of cancer, almost surpassing cervical cancer as the deadliest of all cancers. Early detection and regular medical-checkups are compulsory, but at the same time it is important that our diet and the food we eat prepare us to fight malignant cancer cells at the onset.
Breast cancer prevention starts with healthy habits — such as limiting alcohol and staying physically active. Understand what you can do to reduce your breast cancer risk.Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables hasn’t been consistently shown to offer protection from breast cancer. In addition, a low-fat diet appears to offer only a slight reduction in the risk of breast cancer.
Lifestyle changes have been shown in studies to decrease breast cancer risk even in high-risk women. The following are steps you can take to lower your risk:
- Limit alcohol. The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer. If you choose to drink alcohol — including beer, wine or liquor — limit yourself to no more than one drink a day.
- Don’t smoke. Accumulating evidence suggests a link between smoking and breast cancer risk, particularly in premenopausal women. In addition, not smoking is one of the best things you can do for your overall health.
- Control your weight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer. This is especially true if obesity occurs later in life, particularly after menopause.
- Be physically active. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, which, in turn, helps prevent breast cancer. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly, plus strength training at least twice a week.
- Breast-feed. Breast-feeding may play a role in breast cancer prevention. The longer you breast-feed, the greater the protective effect.
- Limit dose and duration of hormone therapy. Combination hormone therapy for more than three to five years increases the risk of breast cancer. If you’re taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, ask your doctor about other options. You may be able to manage your symptoms with nonhormonal therapies, such as physical activity. If you decide that the benefits of short-term hormone therapy outweigh the risks, use the lowest dose that works for you.
- Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution. Medical-imaging methods, such as computerized tomography, use high doses of radiation, which have been linked with breast cancer risk. Reduce your exposure by having such tests only when absolutely necessary. While more studies are needed, some research suggests a link between breast cancer and exposure to the chemicals found in some workplaces, gasoline fumes and vehicle exhaust.
Foods that prevent Breast Cancer:
- Brazil nuts
- Dark-green leafy vegetables
- Broccoli and broccoli sprouts
- Green tea
Despite the label on many plastic containers claiming that they are “microwave-safe,” it is prudent to use either glass or ceramic bowls for heating foods in a microwave oven. Heating plastics can make chemicals used in their manufacturing to leach into your food. Even so-called “microwave-safe” containers have been shown to leach Bisphenol A (BPA).
Laboratory studies with rats indicate that exposures to BPA, especially during prenatal through early adolescence, predispose an individual to increased risk for developing breast cancer. Most supermarkets now sell Pyrex or other glass food storage containers that are easy to heat, allow you to freeze, thaw and heat (in oven or microwave) food safely and can be reused for years. When you do microwave your food, whether in glass or ceramic containers, cover the food with a piece of kitchen parchment paper, or other non-dyed, non-bleached paper product.
Plant estrogen also called phytoestrogens, are natural compounds found in many foods. There are two main groups: the isoflavones and the lignans. Isoflavones, which include genistein, are found in soy beans and are the most widely studied of the phytoestrogens. Lignans are found in flax-seed cereals, fruits and berries. Phytoestrogens are strikingly similar in chemical structure to the common estrogen estradiol and and can mimic many of the effects of the natural hormone.