As Breast Cancer Awareness Month approaches, we need to think about realistic ways to protect ourselves from getting the second most common cancer for women. Here’s how making smart food choices might just lower your breast cancer risk.So why bother trying to prevent breast cancer? For one, second to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer women face.
Here’s what you can do to lower your risk according to eatingwell.com:
1. Stay lean, move more
One of the most important ways to reduce risk of breast cancer is to avoid gaining weight, suggests a recent review article in the journal Cancer. That means balancing a healthy diet with plenty of exercise. And a study of over 100,000 women reported that those who got regular, strenuous exercise had a lower risk of developing breast cancer than others who didn’t. Exercise may help lower levels of hormones that are involved in breast cancer. Commit to regular exercise, if you haven’t already.
4 simple ways to get yourself to the gym
2. Enjoy fats in moderation
The Women’s Intervention Nutrition Study (WINS), a major clinical trial of postmenopausal women with early-stage breast cancer, found that those who followed a low-fat diet significantly reduced their risk of cancer coming back. They also lost an average of 4.6 pounds after the first year of the trial, while those in the control group gained a half pound. Because weight gain is linked with breast-cancer recurrence and lower survival rates, perhaps the key benefit of a lower-fat diet is the weight loss it encourages. Watching your fat intake can help prevent you from gaining weight and may thus be a cancer-fighting strategy.
3. Eat soyfoods, not supplements
In countries like China and Japan where soyfoods are commonly eaten, breast-cancer rates are among the lowest in the world-and one analysis of 18 studies found that eating soyfoods, such as tofu and soy nuts, slightly lowered breast-cancer risk. But don’t be tempted to pop a soy supplement, warns Laurence Kolonel, M.D., Ph.D., director of the epidemiology program at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii: the high doses of soy phytoestrogens found in supplements can behave like estrogen in the body, causing breast-cell changes that could potentially lead to cancer. Breast-cancer survivors and women at high risk for the disease should avoid soy supplements.