Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the United States (other than skin cancer). In 2012, about 227,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer also develops in men and in 2012, its expected that about 2,200 men in the US alone will learn they have breast cancer.
Here are 9 ways to help lower your risk of breast cancer, mostly involving dietary changes that won't be too difficult in making a transition from your current eating and dietary habits.
1. Increase the fiber in your diet since high fiber diets have been shown to decrease breast cancer risk by up to 54 percent. That could be because fiber binds to harmful substances in the intestines and escorts them out of the body. Increasing fiber in your diet is easy: sprinkle flax seeds on your toast or cereal, choose whole grains over refined, add beans to soups and stews, and snack on almonds through the day.
2. Add sea vegetables to your diet. Research by Jane Teas, Ph.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health shows that rats fed kelp had less breast cancer than rats who were not fed kelp. Kelp and other forms of seaweed are full of nutrients, reduce radioactive waste in our bodies, and strengthen the glands.
3. Eat more cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage. They contain sulfur compounds called indoles, which help eliminate excess estrogen from the body and prevent it from triggering the growth of breast cancer. Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) is particularly powerful at inhibiting cancer cell development in the breasts. Cruciferous vegetables convert cancer-promoting forms of estrogen to protective forms according to Dr. Gaynor, author of Dr. Gaynor’s Cancer Prevention Program One particular indole, indole-3-carbinol (13C), inhibits the development of potentially cancerous cells in the breast.
4. Reduce animal fat in your diet. In a British study, researchers found a high consumption of animal fat was linked to more cases of breast or colorectal cancer, while fish oil was linked to fewer cases. Additionally, excess amounts of animal fat in the diet causes the production of chemicals in the intestine that bacteria can convert to carcinogenic estrogens.
5. Eat more Omega 3 fatty acids, which have been shown in many studies to inhibit the effects of inflammatory substances called prostaglandins. These substances not only depress the immune system, they weaken its ability to identify tumors. Omega 3 fatty acids in flax seeds, flax oil, raw walnuts, and fish, reduce prostaglandins and inflammation, reducing the breast cancer risk. In a study in Finland, breast cancer victims were found to have lower levels of two types of omega 3 fatty acids in their breast tissue than women without the disease.
6. Choose organic produce as much as possible. Many pesticides have been linked with an increased risk of breast cancer. They also have an affinity for fatty deposits in the body, including the breasts.
7. Be sure you’re getting adequate amounts of the mineral selenium in your multivitamin. Research by Larry Clark, PhD., M.P.H, at the University of Arizona found that supplementing with selenium could cut cancer rates in half. Earlier research supports his conclusion that the higher the selenium levels, the lower the breast cancer rate. Be sure to choose selenium in its organic form, selenomethionine.
8. Supplement with alpha lipoic acid. This miracle nutrient and antioxidant not only kills harmful free radicals that can lead to the formation of cancer cells, extensive research by Lester Packer, PhD shows that it recycles other antioxidants like vitamins C and E to maximize their free radical scavenging ability. Research by Richard Passwater, PhD, found that alpha lipoic acid may prevent the activation of the gene that triggers cellular cancer growth.
9. Drink green tea. Green tea contain cancer-fighting substances called epigallo catechin gallate (ECGC). These substances protect against cancer by reducing free radicals. In one study drinking high amounts of green tea significantly lowered cancer risk.
Women are about 100 times more likely to develop breast cancer than men; however, the survival rates are about the same regardless of the patient’s sex. Making changes to your diet and well-being to lower your risk of breast cancer can only be a good thing. If you have any other suggestions or contributions please let us know.
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