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.
As part of our “Get The Skinny” series, we're talking about four 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.
Several studies have shown that women who consume at least 30 grams of fiber (soluble or insoluble) had more than a 30% reduction in the risk of breast cancer. Top sources of fiber include:
- Fiber One Original and Kashi Go Lean cereals
- Beans and legumes, such as red beans
Flaxseed is 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.
Early detection can save your life. Find information on cancer screenings and learn more about which screenings you may need.
Natural anti-inflammatories, omega-3’s help to reduce the inflammation that can damage cells and contribute to the growth of cancer cells. Sources include:
- 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.
A low intake of folate is linked to an increase in breast cancer risk. Try to aim for at least 1-2 servings per day. Folate-rich foods include:
- Red beans
- Black beans
- Can also supplement with 400-800 mcg folic acid.
- Brewer’s yeast is one of the top food sources. 2 tablespoons provide nearly two 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, manages the Nutrition department of Ochsner Fitness Center and is the 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.