October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month, HealthyYOU Vending joins the efforts to raise awareness about how a healthy lifestyle can help guard against cancer.
While no specific food or diet can prevent breast cancer, making healthier diet and lifestyle choices and maintaining a healthy body weight may minimize other risk factors. One thing most researchers agree on is that obesity can be a risk for breast cancer, as can a sedentary lifestyle.
BreastCancer.org reports that women with a BMI (body mass index) higher than 25 have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who maintain a healthy weight, especially after menopause. Being overweight may also increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence.
Research on diet and breast cancer is ongoing. In the meantime, here’s what dietitians suggest for women who are interested in eating well to reduce their risk of breast cancer:
• Maintain a healthy weight for your height and frame. Excess fat cells may increase estrogen levels, which in turn may increase breast cells and increase risk of breast cancer.
• Eat five or more cups of vegetables and fruit each day. Studies show that breast cancer is less common in countries where the average diet is plant-based.
• Between meals, choose healthier snacks that are whole foods, high in fiber and low in fat and sugar.
• Avoid high-sodium and processed meats, especially those with added nitrates, hormones and antibiotics. Consume healthier protein options such as egg whites, chicken, fish and legumes.
• Limit saturated fat intake to less than 10% of total daily calories, and limit fat intake to about 30 grams per day.
• Eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.
• Eating a pesticide-free diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains can help boost your overall immune system. Avoid chemicals and pesticides, and choose organic when possible.
Eating healthy is equally important when battling breast cancer. Click here for healthy eating tips to help your body stay strong during and after breast cancer treatment.
This article is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your doctor or professional healthcare provider for all questions and treatment about any medical matter.