It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and with that we’ve pulled together some of the best foods to consider including in your diet to reduce your risk of breast cancer. It’s not hard, all you need to know is what foods are best for beating breast cancer. Here’s where to start:
1. Big on Beta Carotene
Increasing your intake of beta-carotene daily can reduce your risk of breast cancer by nearly 20%, according to the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine. Since beta-carotene is a major antioxidant, including more of it in your diet can help to encourage the elimination of abnormal cells, which could potentially lead to cancer.
Where can you find beta-carotene? Typically, look for orange and red-fleshed fruits and veggies. Good examples include yams, tomatoes, bell peppers, mangos, grapefruit, and cantaloupe.
2. Add Cruciferous Veggies
Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale and bok choy, are the superheroes of the produce section. For the past 20 years, cruciferous veggies have proven themselves time and time again in the fight against various cancers.
Simply put, cruciferous veggies have a high concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, called glucosinolates. During digestion, glucosinolates break down to become active compounds that prevent the growth of cancerous cells. Besides preventing cancer from getting started, these compounds can help prevent metastasis (the spread of cancer) and can even encourage the body to destroy cancerous cells.
Aim to eat at least one cruciferous vegetable per day. It’s not difficult when you see all of the delicious options available in your market.
3. Embrace Meatless Mondays
Red meat has long been suspected of contributing to certain cancers, and breast cancer is one of them. Eliminating meat, even if it’s just one day per week to start, can go a long way towards reducing your risk of breast cancer. Additionally, try to cut out red and nitrate-heavy meats, such as sausage, ham, and bacon.
From Meatless Mondays, you can expand your embrace of a plant-based lifestyle by gradually cutting out meat and animal products. You’re not only helping out yourself, but also helping to improve the health of your family, and the planet.
4. Cut Out Alcohol
Now, it’s not a secret that alcohol is not good for our health, but most people don’t know just how bad it can be when it comes to increasing cancer risk. Consider this: The consumption of alcohol can increase levels of estrogen and other hormones, which in turn are associated with an increased risk of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer.
Alcohol also may increase the risk of breast cancer by damaging DNA in cells. Just three alcoholic drinks per week can result in a 15% higher risk of breast cancer. Even just cutting back can have a significant positive effect on your health, so why not give it a try?
Even better, replace your usual night cap with something that includes healthy options, such as:
- Carbonated water with lime or lemon
- Herbal tea
- Green tea (hot or cold)
- Coconut water
- Infused water
If alcohol is something you use to wind down at the end of a long day (or week), look for healthier alternatives. Take a bath, go for a walk, put on your favorite tunes and dance it out. Every drink you don’t drink puts you a step further away from breast cancer.
Bottom line, your health is important! Treat yourself right by embracing a few plant-based healthy diet options.