Following a diet for breast cancer is an excellent way to fight the disease, whether you already have it or you want to reduce your risk of developing it. Among all cases of cancer in women, breast cancer is by far the most common and many women lose their lives each year trying to battle the condition. Scientists and researchers are hard at work to find a cure, but until then, living a healthy lifestyle and sticking to a nutrition packed, cancer fighting diet are the most effective ways to prevent the disease and to handicap its growth in existing cases.
How Can a Diet Help Fight Breast Cancer?
It’s simple: You are what you eat. Eating a healthy diet is important for everyone, not just those dealing with cancer. There are chemicals and nutrients in our food that when eaten can help turn our bodies into a cancer fighting machine. The human body is a miraculous thing and it has its own way off fighting and warding off disease as long as you are giving it the fuel it needs to do so.
What’s in My Food?
A number of nutrients and chemicals found in different types of food seem to help the body fight and defend itself against breast cancer. The ties between nutrition and breast cancer are linked to several agents in our food, most notably phytochemicals.
A number of chemicals found in plant-based foods are known to promote overall health and help prevent disease. Those chemicals, known as phytochemicals, do a great service to our bodies when we eat them in abundance. Thousands of known phytochemicals exist in our food and should be included in a cancer fighting diet as each has a different purpose and benefit to the body.
What Do Phytochemicals Do?
Phytochemicals actually do many helpful things for our body including:
- Provide Antioxidant Activity – most phytochemicals induce antioxidant activity, which protects our body’s cells against oxidative damage and greatly reduce the risk of developing many types of cancer, including breast cancer.
- Prevent Pathogen Adherence – Many phytochemicals stick to cell walls, which in turn prevents pathogens from adhering to the cells and causing the development of disease.
- Interfere with DNA – several phytochemicals have the ability to prevent the replication of a cell’s DNA. This basic action is a great help in preventing the replication of cancer cells and can slow or stop the development of the disease.
What’s in a Cancer Fighting Diet?
Unlike diets for weight loss or that lower your cholesterol, a solid anti-cancer diet does not focus on taking away foods that you love. The key to this healthy diet regimen is to include an abundance of foods that are both healthy for you and that inhibit the spread, growth and development of breast cancer.
What You Should Be Eating
If you are looking to begin following a nutrient rich breast cancer fighting diet, base your meals and snacks around these guidelines regarding types of food and number of servings per day.
Fiber – On average, Americans only consume about 12g of fiber per day. Cancer research shows that increasing that amount to 25-30g each day can be a great asset in fighting breast cancer. Research suggests that those who are getting more fiber reduce their risk of breast cancer by nearly 11%. The best fiber supplement by far is fruits and vegetable, which contain large natural amounts of fiber.
Fruits and Vegetables – Nutritionists recommend that you increase the well-known ‘five servings a day’ guideline to nine or more. This is because fruits and vegetables are incredible natural sources of fiber, phytochemicals and antioxidants, essential elements in a diet for breast cancer. Fruits and veggies that are most recommended for their cancer fighting abilities include:
- brussel sprouts
Dairy Products – Research suggests that one to two servings of low fat dairy per day in a diet for breast cancer whelps increase your intake of conjugated linoleic acid which is said to promote anti-cancer activity.
Nuts – Including nuts in your diet several times a week will not only help increase your fiber intake but also provides you with monounsaturated fats which are essential to a diet for breast cancer as they help fight the development of this disease.
Fish – Several types of fish are an excellent addition to a cancer fighting diet including salmon, sardines, mackerel and tuna. These fish contain an abundance of Omega-3 fatty acids that improve blood flow, lower the risk of breast cancer and may help improve the body’s response to chemotherapy.
Whole Grains – Nutritionists suggest eating at least 3-6 servings of whole grain each day as part of a cancer fighting diet. This is because it helps to increase fiber intake and can help lower estrogen levels.
While starting a diet for breast cancer may sound difficult, incorporating these phytochemical and antioxidant-rich foods has immeasurable benefits to fighting and preventing cancer of the breast. Most of the foods included in this type of diet are flavorful and enjoyable so have no fear about tasteless, bland meals. Changing your diet to increase your intake of certain substances will not guarantee that you will not develop breast cancer, but it does help dramatically lower your risk. It also helps fight existing breast cancer and may help the body be more receptive to treatments.