Breast cancer is a complex disease with many contributing factors eg., age, family history, genetics and gender. It is not within a person’s control but you can control other factors leading to it.
For example, quitting smoking, being physically active, having a normal body weight and proper dieting (which doesn’t mean starving yourself). 30-40 percent of all cancer related conditions are attributable to dietary patterns and frequency (lifestyle practices with emphasis on diet).
Breast cancer is of concern to us all as women even though, it affects men but high prevalence is recorded in women. It is therefore critical that, we pay attention to what we are eating.
Below are amazing facts supported by research to help you guard against breast cancer with nutrition, manage breast cancer with nutrition and improve on the quality of life and prevent re-occurrence of breast cancer in persons who amazingly defeated breast cancer. Below are five foods to include in your everyday meals to help improve on the health of the breasts;
1. Cruciferous vegetables – they contain vitamin A and C, and are also rich in photochemical which helps fight cancer by neutralizing toxins and carcinogens. They reduce the risk of breast cancer (developing) and research supports that, it prevents the reoccurring of breast cancer among breast cancer survivors. Choosing the right cooking method will help retain much of the nutrient make up of these vegetables and help serve these wonderful purposes.
They include, cabbage , broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens. Look at your environment and eat from what is available; eg., dandelion, lettuce (our people say, salad) and our leafy voluminous vegetables.
2. Plant based protein – research has found that, meals loaded with plant protein as compared to animal protein are protective of the breast and prevents breast cancer from developing.
Not only are they rich in protein, they are also rich in fiber (for gastric relief including preventing constipation), folate (folic acid for ), iron (for healthy blood) and some other good antioxidants like ANTHOCYANIN.
Lentils and legumes are protein powerhouses and also good for our breasts’ health.
3. Flax seeds – it’s good in omega 3, good for the brain and heart as well. Lignan is found in it and it is rich in fiber and the antioxidant PHYTOESTROGEN. Research supports it that, lignan has benefits for guarding against breast cancer. Lignan metabolites binds to estrogen receptors and hence, inhibiting the onset of estrogen-stimulated breast cancer.
4. Oily fish – this promotes breast health for two reasons; a) omega 3, b) vitamin D. This means that, they can stop blood vessels from growing within a tumor. A study showed vitamin D lowered risk of breast cancer. To lower mercury contamination, choose oily fish that are lower on the food chain eg.; herring, sardines, anchovies, planked salmon and so on.
5. Turmeric – its active ingredient is curcumin and it arrests the spread of breast cancer whiles reducing the damaging efforts of chemotherapy drugs. More research needs to be done in this regard but you can add turmeric to your meal.
FOODS TO AVOID
1. Alcohol – study shows a link between alcohol and risk of developing breast cancer. Alcohol may increase estrogen levels and cause DNA damage. It was also identified that, women who consumed alcohol had a 15% chances of developing breast cancer, and goes up by 10% with a consumption of each/additional drink per day.
2. Added sugar – in a research using mice, they had developed mammary gland tumors similar to breast cancer in humans. Tumors were likely to spread or metastasize.
3. Fat – trans fats have higher links to breast cancer in humans. Crans fat – processed foods, pastries, some crackers, donuts, packaged cookies.
4. Red meat – cooking meat at high temperatures can trigger the release of toxins. And there’s a link to red meat and increase risk of breast cancer.
5. Processed foods – tends to be high in fat, salt and preservatives. They may increase rather than reduce the risk of breast cancer. Minimizing food processing is more helpful and healthiest.
Super breast foods
1. Olive oil
3. Beans & lentils
4. Sweet potatoes
Eat healthy, talk to a professional, take heed to professional advice and live well – say no to breast cancer with good nutrition.
Read and share with family and friends and let’s together build a very healthy populace.
Watch Nutritionist Akosua on Citi Tv each Monday at 9:00am to 9:30am for Breakfast daily’s Nutrition segment where we discuss various nutritional concerns and ways to stay healthy.