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Best Diet for the Prevention of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer: the words that strike fear into the heart of every woman. It seems as if everyone knows someone who is fighting this insidious disease. Some women accept it as an almost certain fact of life, but this is simply not the case. Did you know that many cancer research scientists believe that simply by changing our eating habits, many Americans can prevent cancer?
Although it is true that some cancers are related to race or genetics, and you can’t do anything to change those things, there are plenty of other things you can do to prevent these killers.
Our diet is perhaps the easiest thing that is completely under our control. Did you know that Japanese women have much lower rates of breast cancer when compared to American women? However, if Japanese women immigrate to the US and begin to consume a typical Western diet, that their risk of developing breast cancer is exactly the same as American women born and raised in the States? This must tell you that diet has a great deal to do with the development of cancer. When Japanese women trade their mainly fish and vegetable-based diet for Western diet of processed foods, fast food, and sugar, cancer rates increase dramatically.
The first thing you should be doing is to be certain that your diet is as close to natural as possible. This means eliminating processed foods (such as pre-packaged foods), junk foods (like potato chips), and fast foods as much as possible. You should also remove as much sugar from your diet as you possibly can. We don’t mean the natural sugar that is found in fruit, but refined, processed sugar. Cook at home from scratch, using wholesome, natural ingredients as much as you possibly can, and consume a mostly plant based diet.
Next, keep reading for a list of foods that have been researched in relation to the prevention of breast cancer and have some scientific backing to their claims.
1. Fish Oil Supplements
One study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, showed that consuming fish oil supplements over time can shrink your risk of ductal carcinoma, the most common type of breast cancer.
It’s the omega-3 fatty acids that cold water fish, like salmon, contain which reduce inflammation, one of the things believed to cause breast cancer. (And many other types of cancer) You can skip the supplements if you eat 8 ounces of cold water, fatty fish, such as tuna, sardines, and salmon, during a week.
This means that if you love fish, this is your free pass to eat plenty of it.
It’s actually the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, which causes the death of cancer cells. Studies show that curcumin can be effective even in cases of certain types of breast cancer that are resistant to traditional chemotherapy. Unfortunately, curcumin has a low absorption and quick metabolism rate, which means that it passes quickly through the body and is difficult for your body to absorb.
You can increase the bioavailability of turmeric by adding plain black pepper to this spice. This will increase the absorption rate by 200 percent! Turmeric also has plenty of other benefits; such as being an anti-inflammatory, treating osteoarthritis, and rejuvenating the skin.
If you buy turmeric, be sure it contains plenty of curcumin as some cheaper brands contain next to nothing in the way of curcumin.
Fiber is perhaps best described as the part of plants that cannot be digested. You will find plenty of fiber in vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. Wheat bran is a super good source of dietary fiber.
It lowers the levels of estrogen in pre-menopausal women, which helps to lower the risk of breast cancer. Most women should get between 20 to 25 grams of dietary fiber each day. If you eat a mostly plant based diet, you should be getting all the fiber you will need.
Eating a mainly plant based diet also means you will be eating plenty of antioxidants, which have also been linked to a lower risk of cancer.
It’s carotenoids that give plants their color. There are more than 600 different types of carotenoids, which is why there is such a wide variety of colors in our fruits and vegetables.
Studies show that women who have higher levels of carotenoids in their blood stream have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. Some of the best foods to get your carotenoids from are:
- Bell Peppers (all colors)
- Papaya (but not from Hawaii, as these are GMO)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Cabbage (all colors)
These are called several names, flavonol, flavones, or flavonoids, but they are all basically the same thing: a protective substance found in many plants. Studies show that women who eat plenty of plants that contain flavonols have a lower breast cancer risk. Some of the best sources are:
- Black tea
- Green tea
- Oolong tea
- Onions (all colors)
- Most Fruits
- Chamomile tea
- Berries (all kinds)
- Dark chocolate
These deserve special mention as this fruit is super-rich in polyphenols and flavonoids.
In studies done with mic, pomegranate extract and the seed oil of pomegranates were shown to reduce breast cancer by an unbelievable 87 percent. No matter how much you consume, there are absolutely no side effects, other than perhaps weight gain if you choose to consume juice. All you really need to get this powerful protection is one glass (8 ounces) of pure pomegranate juice or eating one medium sized fruit each day.
Pomegranates have been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease, and keep arteries clear of the plaque that causes heart disease. All that from one little fruit!
7. Vitamin D
There have been many, many studies that show that vitamin D has powerful anticancer potential. Vitamin D stops the growth of cancer cells because it regulates cell cycles. Women with lower breast density have lower incidences of breast cancer and women with high levels of vitamin D in their blood have lower breast density levels. One study showed that post-menopausal women who had the highest levels of vitamin D had a 70 percent reduction in their risk of developing breast cancer.
Exposure to the sun is the best way to get vitamin D; however, you need to get safe sun exposure. Start with 5 minutes of sun exposure each day, then each week add 1 minute of sunning time until you build up to a full 30 minutes of sun exposure each day. If you can’t do this due to your geographical location or some other issue, then consider taking at least 1,000 mgs of vitamin D each day. Vitamin D will also help to protect you from dementia and helps to improve bone density.
Of course, there isn’t one magic pill, one single fruit, nutrient, or supplement that will give you 100 percent immunity from breast cancer, or any other type of cancer. However, we do know that a combination of healthy eating, taking supplements to make up for any deficiency in our diet, and living as natural a life as possible (getting regular exercise, limiting stress, laughing out loud every day, and getting plenty of sleep) will work together to optimize your health, limit your risks, and provide you with all the cancer protection that is possible.