Aware of Breast Cancer?

Nancy Teeter, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

It’s October, and everywhere you look, you see pink ribbons. These are intended to increase awareness of breast cancer and to raise money for organizations which focus on awareness and cure. But what about prevention?

According to research, diet is responsible for about 30% to 40% of all cancers. Though no food is known to prevent breast cancer, proper nutrition can help keep your risk for breast cancer as low as possible.

This article is intended to make you aware that there are dietary connections to breast cancer prevention. Share my tips with others, including the men in the family because men get breast cancer, too. Many of the factors which influence breast cancer also affect prostate cancer risk.

Aim for a healthy weight

Fat cells make estrogen, thus reducing body fat can also reduce your risk of disease.

Fill your plate two-thirds full of plants

While no single food prevents disease, plant foods contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and polyphenols which may ward off many types of cancer. Compared to animal protein, fruits and vegetables have lower fat content and higher fiber content.

I can state with certainty that eating a variety of whole, minimally processed foods promotes health. You can include organic soybeans, legumes, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and nuts. Animal studies indicate that food grown without pesticides may protect against unhealthy cell changes and alterations to the gut microbiome.

Reduce beef and cured meats

Industrial farms are responsible for the majority of beef produced in the U.S. Cattle producers routinely inject hormones and antibiotics into the animals. Studies have shown a direct connection between hormone ingestion and breast cancer. Cured meats contain nitrates which are associated with several types of cancer. Fish, seafood, and poultry are better choices.

Drink less alcohol

Red wine is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and an increased risk of breast cancer. If you choose to drink, limit daily intake of alcoholic drinks to one for women and two for men.

Note: Nancy Teeter, a SaddleBrooke resident, is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.