By Katie Boscia, MS, RD, IBCLC, CDE
There is no one food or diet that can prevent breast cancer. However, there are certain foods that can help boost your immune system and make you healthier, which can decrease the risk of breast cancer. Some foods can help decrease the side effects of treatment and help you heal faster during cancer treatments.
One of the first things you can do to decrease your risk of breast cancer is to make sure you keep your weight within a healthy range. There’s an increased risk of breast cancer after menopause and a higher likelihood of recurrence for women who are overweight.
To stay healthy and manage your weight, you should eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Here are some fruits and vegetables to consider adding to your diet:
- Broccoli has been shown to block the growth of tumors. Other cruciferous vegetables do this as well, including cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.
- Apples and especially the apple peel can help prevent the spread of cancer cells. They have a healthy amount of antioxidants, fiber and other nutrients that may help decrease the risk of cancer.
- Pomegranates may contain certain compounds that fight the growth of cancer cells.
- Orange fruits and vegetables, like carrots, sweet potatoes and cantaloupe, contain carotenoids that have cancer-fighting properties.
- Berries, including blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, have antioxidants that can help decrease the risk of cancer.
Watch your fats:
- Try to limit saturated fat to less than 10 percent of your total daily calories and consume less than 30 grams of fat per day.
- Avoid trans fats, processed meats, and charred or smoked foods.
- Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as walnuts, fish (salmon, mackerel, sea bass and tuna) and ground flaxseed to help your body fight inflammation.
Eating a variety of foods with a rainbow of colors can help you make sure you’re getting all the right nutrients. This will help you stay healthy to prevent cancer, or keep your energy levels up during cancer treatment. Try to include lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and omega-3 fatty acids and stay away from starchy carbohydrates to increase your energy and help maximize your body’s cancer-fighting abilities.