Whether you are a woman or a man, many of us have been affected by breast cancer. If you haven't personally had it or survived it, there is a good chance that you have known someone who has, or worse, has died from breast cancer. Maybe your mom was diagnosed with it, maybe your grandmother, maybe a sister, a wife or even a child. The reality is, breast cancer is serious and this October, in observation of Breast Cancer Awareness month, it pays to learn what you can do to prevent the disease.
For starters, your diet can have tremendous impact on lowering your risk for breast cancer. If you aren't already, start incorporating these foods and habits into your daily lifestyle:1. Consume Healthy Fats: When it comes to fats, there are those that are healthy and those that aren't. Those foods that contain monounsaturated fats and Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids, particularly, are an important part of one's diet. Studies have shown that women who consume monounsaturated fat and Omega-3 Fatty Acids have a lower risk of breast cancer than those who eat unhealthier fats. Those fats you should avoid include saturated and trans fats, including whole dairy, butter, cheese, and red meat. Further, avoid partially hydrogenated oils, hydrogenated fats, corn and safflower oils. Foods to enjoy include:
- Fatty Fish (Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel and Sardines)
- Canola Oil
- Olive Oil
3. Every Color of the Rainbow: Colorful fruits and vegetables protect your cells from "free radicals" - cancer-causing compounds - with their powerful antioxidants. Further, they are high in fiber as well. As a result, it pays to eat LOTS of these foods (a minimum of 7 to 9 servings a day). The more colorful the better:
- Deep-Orange foods (such as sweet potatoes, carrots, mangos, nectarines and apricots)
- Red Grapes
- Deep Green Leafy Vegetables (such as Spinach)
- Brussels Sprouts
- Mustard Greens
- Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners: Processed sugars (any sugar that doesn't exist naturally - such as those sugars found in fruit or dairy), not only have little to no nutritional value, but displace good nutrition. Further, there is some research that suggests that cancer feeds off of sugar…meaning cancer thrives. Additionally, since artificial sweeteners continue to remain questionable as to their long-term safety and health impacts, it is best to avoid these as well.
- Processed Meat: Avoid bacon, sausages, breakfast meats, pepperoni, hot dogs and lunch meat.
7. Don't Overdo the Grilling: Burnt meat or any food, for that matter, may increase breast cancer risk. When foods are cooked at high temperatures, a break down of the chemical structure of the food occurs which can create certain carcinogens.
Are you celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Do you incorporate any of these foods or habits into your diet?
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