Breast cancer is a type of cancer that forms a malignant tumor in the cells of the breasts and can slowly spread to other parts of the body. It is common in women over the age of 40, especially if there is a history of breast cancer in the family, but it can also be found in men. There are certain things that cannot be controlled such as family history and genetics, but there are certain dietary measures which can be taken to prevent the risk of developing breast cancer.
Along with limiting alcohol and smoking, being physically active and maintaining a healthy diet will help reduce the risk of breast cancer. Here are five superfoods that you can include in your diet to prevent cancer.
Garlic has been around since the days of ancient Greece, and research is still discovering all of its beneficial properties. It has even been called “the bulb of the tree of life” because of its anti-aging properties.
While garlic may be known to cause stinky breath, it also has some sulfur compounds and antioxidants that are good at stopping the forming of cancerous substances inside your body as well as speeding up DNA repair and killing off cancer cells. Garlic can also help to reduce the risk of stomach, colon, and pancreatic cancers as well as breast cancer.
According to the World Health Organization, it is recommended that adults consume approximately one clove of garlic per day to maintain good health. The easiest and most beneficial way to do this is to peel and chop the cloves and let them rest for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking them into a delicious meal like spaghetti or pizza.
This rest time activates the enzymes within the garlic which then release the sulfur compounds will give you the most nutrition and have a protective effect on your body.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, similar to cauliflower and brussels sprouts. It is a sort of protective powerhouse in the way of fighting off cancers. Along with its leafy green cousins, it contains protective enzymes like sulforaphane that help to reduce the risk of breast cancer. This enzyme is activated when the broccoli passes through the intestines and detoxifies harmful substances in the body.
Some researchers say that the enzymes could also be operating as an antimicrobial agent to attack harmful bacteria. Broccoli is most protective against breast cancer as well as prostate, colon, and lung cancer.
Broccoli also contains carotenoids and vitamins C, E, and K; which all give your body the boost it needs to repair DNA damage and help with anti-inflammatory effects.
It is recommended to eat at least 150 grams of cruciferous vegetables, roughly one cup of cooked broccoli per day. Studies show that women who ate greater amounts of broccoli had a lower risk of breast cancer and were able to fight off any existing breast cancer without it coming back. Broccoli makes a nice crunchy snack or tastes just as great steamed or tossed in a soup or salad.
Berries such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are rich in antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. This is especially helpful with preventing breast cancer. Strawberries and raspberries, especially, contain a phytochemical called ellagic acid that boosts enzymes in order to destroy cancer-causing substances and slow the growth of tumors.
While berries are especially protective against breast cancer, the richness of antioxidants is also great for preventing memory decline, heart disease, and lung and colon cancer.
Fortunately, berries already taste great on their own and are easy to throw into cereal, yogurt, or a smoothie.
- Whole Grains
Whole grains like wheat, oats, rice, and barley have various health benefits that can reduce the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease; but it can also help reduce the risk of breast cancer. While the richness of dietary fiber in whole grains is good for your digestive system, it can also help prevent the body from absorbing too much estrogen, which often tends to be a factor in the development and spreading of breast cancer.
Whole grains also contain cancer-fighting substances called lignans, which act as antioxidants in the body, as well as saponins, which prevent cancer cells from multiplying. Studies show that women who ate 1.5 servings of whole grain every day were less likely to get pre-menopausal breast cancer than those who left it out of their diet.
Whole grain cereals can make great breakfasts, or even just choosing 100% whole wheat bread for sandwiches is a great idea to get in your dose of whole grains and dietary fiber for the day. Whole grain pasta is also a tasty option.
A nutrient powerhouse, spinach is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Vitamin A; which are known to reduce the risk of breast cancer. It is also rich in certain carotenoids that remove unstable molecules from your body before that can cause any damage. Similar to whole grains, spinach is also high in fiber but also folate, which helps to produce new cells and repair DNA.
The glycolipids in spinach can also help to inhibit the growth of cancer cells while also helping to counteract the cancer-promoting effects of the heme iron in red meat.
Spinach is also known to help reduce the risk of other cancers such as ovarian and lung cancer.
To get the most nutrients from the spinach, it is best to eat it raw or lightly cooked. It tastes great in a leafy salad, steamed, or even added to pasta or smoothies.