Foods to Fight Breast Cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And every year at this time, it seems I learn a little bit more about the disease. I have a couple of friends who’ve had to deal with breast cancer — either personally or in their families — and in honor of them, I decided to write about it today.

Did you know that a woman has a 1 in 8 chance of getting breast cancer in her lifetime? I’ll admit it, this scares me. But there’s good news: according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, it is estimated that one-third of the most common cancers—breast included—could be prevented through a healthier diet, adequate physical activity and a healthy body weight.

Why is this good news? Because this is something we can control.  We, as human beings, have the great privilege of being able to choose what we eat and how physically active we are.

Inspired by this information, I though I’d share the top ten foods that have been linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer.

10 Foods to Fight Breast Cancer:

Cruciferous vegetables (i.e. broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage)  – Mom always told you to eat your broccoli. Turns out, mom was right. Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolate, a natural chemical that is thought to help enhance the body’s defenses against cancer.

Spinach – A study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences found that women who consumed spinach twice per week were 44% less likely to develop breast cancer than those who didn’t. The agents in spinach—chlorophyll, carotenoids, omega-3 fatty acids, and micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—all work together to help prevent cancer.

Garlic – Foods in the garlic and onion family contain allium compounds which may helpthe body’s natural defense against cancer. Allyl sulfides are thought to block the effects of carcinogens and slow the development of stomach, esophagus, colon, lung and breast cancer.

Fatty Fish – The omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, such as salmon, fresh tuna, herring and mackerel, have not only been proven to contribute to heart health, but are also thought to protect against and slow the spread of hormone-related tumor cells.

Flax Seeds – Research shows that the phytoestrogens, or “plant estrogens,” found in flax seeds may help to block estrogen, thereby reducing the risk of certain types of estrogen-related of cancers, including uterine, prostate and breast.

Cherries – Cherries contain a natural compound, perillyl alcohol, which has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in pancreatic, liver, lung and breast cancer.

Tomatoes – The lycopene present in tomatoes (which can also be found in pink grapefruit, watermelon and apricots) is thought to destroy harmful free radicals (unstable molecules that can form into cells that promote cancer growth) and also slow the growth of breast cancer cells.

Olive Oil – The lignans found in extra virgin olive oil is a potent antioxidant that has been shown to suppress early cancer cell changes in colon, prostate and breast cancers. In fact, a 2008 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine reported a link between olive oil and a reduced risk of developing breast cancer.

Berries – Containing a whole host of cancer-fighting compounds, including anthocyanins, ellagic acid, kaempferol and quercetin, berries are thought to neutralize free radicals in healthy cells and slow the growth of breast cancer.

Green Tea – Green tea contains, EGCG, a catechin that has been shown to scavenge free radicals and reduce tumors in early stages and slow the growth of cancer cells.

More than adding these healthy gems to your diet, experts also recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week, keeping saturated fats and salt to a minimum, and maintaining a healthy weight — particularly for post-menopausal women.

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  1. I was glad to see so many of my favorite things on the list.
    A dear friend was just diagnosed a couple months ago. She is hanging in there, but oh, how much better to have success in preventative measures.

    • Little by little, I’m trying to incorporate more of these foods into my diet. Sorry to hear about your friend, May.

  2. There are so many benefits to these foods, I am so happy that help with Cancer too. I lost a wonderful friend to this illness and I appreciate you spreading the awareness. I miss her everyday. Thank you!

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