Breast cancer is the leading cancer among women and, according to the World Health Organization, has now overtaken lung cancer as the world’s most commonly diagnosed cancer. There are many factors associated with increased risk for breast cancer, including things that are out of a person’s control, such as genetics and increasing age, but there's good news too: some lifestyle changes can dramatically decrease your risk. And the most important environmental factor appears to be nutrition. Exposure to substances that promote the abnormal growth of breast cells, leading to malignant tumors increases your risk of the disorder.
When it comes to protecting yourself from breast cancer, a plant-based diet is tops. It's naturally high in fiber and antioxidants, and it eliminate foods that are known to promote a number of cancers (like processed meats).
Not ready to go all in? That's OK. Start by making these plant-based tweaks to your diet to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.
Before We Begin: Kickstart your Plant-Based Diet (and Your Health) with MamaSezz Vegan Food Delivery
Reap the benefits of a plant-based diet...without all the meal prep! Get ready-made and fresh vegan food delivery. All you have to do is heat, eat, and get on with your healthy fabulous life. Build your MamaSezz vegan food delivery bundle now.
5 Diet Tweaks to Decrease Your Risk of Breast Cancer
1. Opt for Dairy-Free Options
Dairy products are naturally high in bovine hormones since milk is designed to help a little calf grow into a two-thousand-pound cow. The estrogen, and growth hormones (such as insulin-like growth factor 1) in dairy, in particular, are considered the major pathway to breast cancer and a factor that increases breast cancer mortality.
In fact, a study conducted by the National Cancer Institute compared the diets of women diagnosed with breast cancer to those without breast cancer, and found that those who consumed the most dairy products had a 53 percent increased risk for breast cancer!
And going dairy-free isn't just a great way to reduce your breast cancer risk – it can help you lose weight, reduce inflammation, get clear skin, and even strengthen your bones!
Struggling to give up dairy? We hear you. These tips can help you detox from dairy in 3 weeks!
2. Eat More Flaxseed
Flaxseed, like many plant foods, is high in lignans, a group of polyphenols that seem to protect against a number of disorders, including breast cancer. It is believed that flaxseed consumption can prevent and treat breast cancer by blocking the effects of interleukin-1, an inflammatory molecule which may help tumors feed, grow, and invade tissues. Flaxseeds are so rich in these compounds than only a small daily serving is enough to reap the healthy, protective benefits of lignans and reduce your risk of breast cancer.
New to flax? Here's how to enjoy flaxseed at home.
3. Increase Your Fiber Intake
Fiber intake is particularly protective against colorectal cancer, but it also seems to work against breast cancer, too. A plant-based diet is rich in fiber, approximating an average of 47 grams per day. Research suggests even just 20 grams of fiber a day is associated with a fifteen percent drop in breast cancer risk. This explains why women eating plant-based diets appear to have a low incidence of breast cancer. The Standard American Diet provides a very small amount of fiber, so eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, dramatically increased protection against breast cancer.
Kickstart your day with these 10 high-fiber plant-based breakfast ideas.
4. Don’t Be Scared of Soy
There is a lot of misinformation about soy, especially regarding its potential effects on hormone balance.
But here's some good news: soy is actually one of the healthiest foods you can have in your diet when it comes to preventing and treating breast cancer. Research has shown that women who eat lots of soy have a lower risk of developing and surviving breast cancer, emphasizing the protective effects that soy has when it’s been consumed from childhood. Astonishingly, consuming soy during childhood cuts the risk of later breast cancer by as much as half.
Edamame beans, tofu, and soy milk are one of the most popular soy products and they're all easy to nclude in your diet daily. Aim to consume three to five servings per day to keep IGF-1 levels low, and prefer organic, non-GMO soy products for maximum protection and overall health.
Don't like the taste of tofu? Some tips for making it delicious, every time.
5. Eat More Mushrooms!
Mushrooms are a superfood! These eco-friendly fungi are loaded with health benefits galore: weight loss, boosted immunity, anti-aging properties, and heart health. And yes, they're great for reducing your breast cancer risk.
Eating just half a mushroom (!) a day reduces your odds of developing breast cancer by 64 percent. Dried mushrooms have the same protective effects.
What makes mushrooms so effective against breast cancer? They inhibit the growth of estrogen-dependent breast cancers.
Time to get outside and forage...or make it easy on yourself and simply add MamaSezz Hungarian Mushroom Soup to your vegan food delivery bundle.
- Tweaking your diet is one of the easiest ways to reduce your risk for developing breast cancer.
- The best diet for breast cancer prevention? A plant-based one!
- Not ready to go 100 percent plant-based yet? Make these 5 diet tweaks and you'll reduce your risk of breast cancer: go dairy-free, eat more flaxseed, load up on fiber, enjoy organic soy, add mushrooms to your day!
Rafaela Michailidou is a Vegan Lifestyle Coach, and a freelance health and wellness content writer, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.