by Stephanie Jaworowski, MSACN
One in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. That is a whopping 12 percent of the female population. Even if a person has the predisposed genetics for breast cancer, there are many dietary and lifestyle interventions that can be implemented to prevent its growth. Don’t let genetics stand in your way; take the following precautions to assure that you will live the healthiest life possible.
Eat organic: Exposure to environmental pollution drastically increases a person’s risk for developing cancer. Many foods people consume are covered in pesticides and were grown in artificial fertilizers. These pesticides are then being directly placed into our gut, which is where our immune system is regulated. By choosing organic, we can limit the amount of chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis.
Reduce alcohol intake: Alcohol consumption increases the amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in a person’s body. Prolonged exposure to ROS over time can lead to cancer. It is recommended to limit alcohol consumption to less than one drink per day.
Eat antioxidants: Antioxidants work to scavenge and eliminate ROS from the body, lowering the risk of cancer development. Vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene, lutein, flavonoids and lycopene are all antioxidants commonly found in fruits, vegetables and herbs. Some foods containing high amounts of these antioxidants include goji berries, wild blueberries, pecans, artichokes, elderberries, kidney beans, cranberries, blackberries and cilantro.
EVOO and nuts: Studies show that the Mediterranean diet, rich in monounsaturated fat, such as extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) and mixed nuts, reduces the risk of breast cancer in women. A diet rich in saturated fat, for example, dairy, red meat and fried foods, is known to be associated with an increased risk for cancer development. This diet also promotes more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and fish while limiting red meat.
Get moving!: It is important to maintain a healthy weight throughout a person’s life. Those that are overweight or obese have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. The higher the body mass index, the greater the risk for developing cancer. The Department for Health and Human Services recommends the average person participate in 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week or 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity per week, in addition to strength training a minimum of twice per week.
Stephanie Jaworowski, MSACN, is a clinical nutritionist at the Integrative Healing Center (located at 560 Northern Blvd., Ste. 109, in Great Neck). For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 516-676-0200 or visit GetIntegrativeHealth.com.