Preventing Breast Cancer Through Nutrition

In the past few years, cancer diagnosis rates seem to be on the rise. This has lead to many people wondering not if they will get cancer, but when. Many of us have had some type of experience with cancer, either personally, or through family or friends. There are many factors that can increase the chances of having breast cancer, but did you know that there are also factors that can reduce those risks?

While breast cancer has a strong genetic component, it doesn’t always mean that if a relative suffered from cancer you will be next. Early detection is key to controlling and defeating breast cancer. If you have a family history of breast cancer, you may benefit from more frequent breast exams. Conducting monthly self-breast exams is one of the most important preventative measures you can take.

If you find something different or unusual in your self-exam, immediately report your finding to your physician. Your doctor may recommend a mammogram, MRI or ultrasound. DNA testing is also available to determine if there is a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Other risk factors can include age, sex, ovarian function, and estrogen exposure.

Aside from a genetic predisposition, there are many other ways we can be at risk for cancer. The National Cancer Institute suggests that obesity and physical inactivity can affect the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. In order to lower your risk, start making the move towards a lifestyle that includes healthy diet choices and increased physical activity.

Your diet can provide you with many different ways to lower your risk of cancer. The American Cancer Society states that there is strong evidence connecting the consumption foods containing phytochemicals with significantly lower risk of cancer. Foods that contain this plant-based chemical include fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Several studies also prove that foods rich in the phytochemicals anthocyanin and ellagic acid can prevent breast cancer cells from developing. Anthocyanin-rich foods are generally fruits and vegetables with red to dark purple shades. These include pomegranates, grapes, plums, berries, black currants, eggplant, red cabbage, red fleshed peaches and cherries. Ellagic acid is a phytochemical found in cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, pomegranates, walnuts, pecans and other plant based foods.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are two carotenoids that significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer, particularly in premenopausal women. Egg yolks have the greatest amount of both lutein and zeaxanthin. Plant-based sources that are high in lutein include kiwi, pumpkin, zucchini, spinach and red seedless grapes. Plant-based sources that are high in zeaxanthin are orange peppers, corn, orange juice and honeydew melon.

At Balance Integrative Health, we offer nutritional advice and support to help you make healthier lifestyle choices. You’ll not only lower your risk of breast cancer and other diseases, you’ll experience a better quality of life.

For a medical evaluation or nutritional support, call us today to schedule an appointment (504) 522-9645 or schedule one online by filling out the form below!

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Sources:

American Cancer Society.

http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicie?herbsvitaminsandminerals/phytochemicals

 

Godiyal, S.

(2013). Anthocyanin-°©‐rich foods you should be eating. Natural News.

http://www.naturalnews.com/042540_anthocyanins_antioxidants_healthy_foods.html

 

National Cancer Institute

National Institute of Health. Fact Sheet.

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/obesity

 

Oliff, H. S. (2005).

Why Lutein and Zeaxanthin Are Becoming so Popular.

LE Magazine.

http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2005/sep2005_report_macular_01.htm

 

Stoner, G. D. (2009).

Foodstuffs for preventing cancer: the preclinical and clinical development of berries.

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2:187.