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How Nutrition Can Reduce Breast Cancer Risk



The number of incidences of breast cancer has been increasing across the globe.  Researchers are studying the reasons for this alarming spike in numbers. Some say it may just be that due to the availability and accessibility of advanced screening facilities, breast cancer is detected earlier and in more number of patients. There are also opinions about lifestyle factors causing a dramatic shift in the way a person lives her life; stress, pollution, fast pace of life, and unhealthy eating habits contribute to the increase in breast cancer risk.

There is no denying the fact that leading a healthier lifestyle can reduce the risk of cancer. One of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle is following a balanced diet.

Diet and Nutrition

Here are some facts that women should know about breast cancer:

  • 1 out of every 8 women in the US will develop breast cancer in their lifespan.
  • According to estimates, 38% of breast cancer could have been avoided by bringing about small changes in lifestyle and eating habits.

38% is a large number, considering that these cases could have been avoided just by making a few simple changes in diet and lifestyle. Good nutrition not only helps lowers the risks of developing cancer but is also beneficial for women who are already diagnosed with cancer.

How to Plan for a Healthy Diet

The kind of food that you eat determines whether a diet is healthy or not. Here are some tips for a healthy diet.

  • Consider a plant-based diet: A plant-based diet consists of fruits and vegetables along with whole grains, legumes, and beans. Fruits and vegetables contain plenty of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They also contain many other phytonutrients that have cancer-fighting properties. You get your proteins from grains and legumes, and this diet can be great for reducing the risk of developing breast cancer. The fiber in the diet also helps eliminate toxic compounds and carcinogens.
  • Limit the intake of processed foods: Processed foods are devoid of any nutritional qualities and only add to the flavor. Avoid white and processed foods such as flour, polished rice, bread, and pasta as much as possible. They do not add to the nutritional value, but instead only increases weight and cholesterol.
  • Follow a low-fat diet: Many studies have established the risk between fat and breast cancer risk. Of these studies, a notable one was conducted by the Women’s Intervention Nutrition Study (WINS). It found that low fat intake improves recurrence-free survival rate by 24%. A high-fat diet can lead to increased levels of estrogen which is linked to the growth of breast cancer.
  • Limit the consumption of alcohol: Regular alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing breast cancer. There is strong evidence to suggest that even a half glass of wine increased the risk of developing breast cancer by 6%. It is thus best to avoid the intake of alcohol or limit its use.

Additional recommendations

Apart from following a healthy diet, here are some additional food items to consume.

  • Flax: Flaxseeds is the main source of mammalian lignans which helps in the removal of extra estrogen. Flax also helps in decreased tumor proliferation.
  • Green Tea: Green tea contains phytonutrients that provide antioxidants that have anti-cancer properties. Green tea inhibits the growth of a tumor and also increases the immune response of the body.

Healthy eating habits will definitely help lower breast cancer risk. If you fall into the high-risk group, do consult your nutritionist and physician to come up with a good diet plan.