As we recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, it’s important to not only use this time to increase awareness of the disease, but to also use this time to reflect on our personal eating and lifestyle habits.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. It’s an alarming statistic, especially considering there are so many risk factors that are completely out of our control, like age, genes, gender and family history. But the best thing we can do is to be proactive in making healthy life choices, as we can shift the odds more in our favor with key lifestyle modifications.
In one of our recent “Get The Skinny” articles, we talk about 4 top foods that may help reduce our risk of breast cancer.
Remember that aside from maintaining a healthy weight and diet, it’s also important to exercise regularly and to cut back on alcohol, white carbohydrates and sugars, and animal-based saturated fats.
- Fiber-Rich Foods
- Several studies have shown that women who consume at least 30 grams of fiber (soluble or insoluble) had more than a 30% reduction in risk of breast cancer.
- Top sources of fiber:
- Fiber One Original and Kashi Go Lean cereals
- Beans/legumes, such as red beans
- They’re one of the top food sources of lignans, compounds that may have anti-cancer properties.
- Sprinkle ground flaxseed into oatmeal, plain low-fat Greek yogurt or blend it into a smoothie.
- Natural anti-inflammatories, omega-3’s help to reduce the inflammation that can damage cells and contribute to the growth of cancer cells.
- Fish – especially fatty fish like salmon, tuna, cod, halibut – is a top source of omega-3s. Aim for 3-4 servings per week.
- Can also supplement with fish oil or vegan DHA plus EPA.
- Folate-Rich Foods
- A low intake of folate is linked to an increase in breast cancer risk.
- Folate-rich foods include red beans, black beans, lentils and spinach – aim for at least 1-2 servings per day.
- Can also supplement with 400-800 mcg folic acid.
- Brewer’s yeast is one of top food sources; 2 tablespoons provides nearly 2 day’s worth of folate!
For more details on this topic, read Molly’s “Get The Skinny” article on WGNO New Orleans.
Molly Kimball, RD, CSSD registered dietitian with Ochsner Health System, manages the Nutrition department of Ochsner Fitness Center and is founder of the Ochsner Eat Fit nonprofit restaurant initiative. Tune in to her podcast, FUELED | Wellness + Nutrition and follow the Eat Fit team on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @EatFitNOLA.
Looking for healthy recipes? Download the Eat Fit Smartphone app. Visit OchsnerEatFit.org.