Breast Cancer Prevention and Your Diet

breast cancer preventionThe National Cancer Institute reports that breast cancer is the leading cause of death in American women ages 15-54. Since breast cancer is a major threat to the health of young women it’s important that we turn our attention toward breast cancer prevention. Diet is thought to be partly responsible for about 30% to 40% of all cancers thus one simple way for a young women to reduce her risk of breast cancer is to modify her diet.

Some oncologists are not fully convinced that nutrition plays a role in breast cancer prevention. They believe that there is insufficient evidence on the topic. It is difficult for research scientists to draw firm conclusions about nutrition and disease because researchers would have to control everything a group of people ate throughout the whole of their lives in order to discover direct links between their diet and disease.

Even though research on breast cancer and diet is limited, doctors who specialize in nutrition are encouraging women to think about how there diet could effect their risk for many diseases, including breast cancer.

Nutrition tips for breast cancer prevention.

Stay at a healthy weight. Calories do count when it comes to breast cancer. Being overweight can increase your risk. Body fat, especially excessive deposits around the belly, can produce excess estrogen that your body does not need. Many obese women will have higher levels of circulating estrogen than women who are at a healthy weight. These elevated hormone levels can put a women at risk for breast cancer.

Eat 5 servings of fruit and vegetables everyday. Multiple studies have found that women who consume more fruits and veggies have a lower risk of breast cancer. Fruits and vegetables are often rich sources of known cancer-fighting nutrients. Flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamins A, C, E, selenium and other antioxidants are all found in fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are molecules that prevent a chemical process called oxidation which can cause gene damage in cells that may lead to cancer.

Get 25-30 grams of fibre into your daily diet. According to Dr. Keith Block, medical-scientific director at the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment, “A high-fiber diet is associated with lower overall mortality in breast cancer patients.” Block goes on to suggest that high fibre diets tend to prevent obesity and therefore prevent obesity-related breast cancer risk factors.

Reduce your intake of high fat dairy products. According to the Susan G Komen foundation dairy consumption is a possible breast cancer risk factor but this theory is still under study.  In March 2013 the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published one study on breast cancer patients that found women who ate more than one serving daily of high-fat dairy products were about 50 percent more likely to die of breast cancer than other patients.  This may be because high-fat dairy has higher concentrations of estrogen than lower-fat options. Some types of breast cancer have estrogen receptors and are fueled by the hormone.

The link between breast cancer prevention and nutrition is still not completely clear to researchers. However these simple modification to your diet will improve your overall health along with possibly reducing your breast cancer risk.



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