In case some of you are living under a rock, in a cave, or on another planet, and have not heard or noticed, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. You can see “pink” on your yogurt containers, at the post office, on your favorite NFL player’s hands and feet and many other places. The National “Pink Campaign” is doing a great job of drawing attention to a disease which affects 1 in 8 women (12%) over a lifetime. In 2011, there will be close to 290,000 new cases of breast cancer (BC) diagnosed in women in the U.S.
Personally, I know several women battling breast cancer right now. They were diagnosed at different stages, are following different treatment plans, and have a variety of health plans for the future. However, they do share some things in common – they continue to eat, sleep, and live life to the fullest despite their diagnoses.
More and more information is being published regarding diet and nutrition and the significant role they play in the chances of developing BC, especially if you have a family history of the disease. Many holistic providers are making recommendations on foods to add and take away from one’s diet to aid in preventing and battling BC. Dr. Andrew Weil suggests incorporating the following foods into one’s diet to aid in preventing BC:
1. Healthy fats: Monounsaturates found in a high quality, extra virgin olive oil, and freshly ground flaxseed and oily fish such as wild Alaskan salmon and sardines (which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids) may help reduce your risk of developing BC.
2. Whole soy products: Soy foods contain many cancer-protective substances, including isoflavones.
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables! Especially cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy and cauliflower, which contain many different cancer-protective phytonutrients.
There are also several cancer-protective seasonings out there as well. Try including herbs such as basil, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, rosemary, sage, thyme and tumeric into your daily diet as well.
Dr. Weil also suggests a few food to avoid:
1.Eating too much fat. Keep your dietary fat content low – below 25 percent of your daily calories is ideal.
2. Consuming animal fats, polyunsaturated fats (including many vegetable oils), and hydrogenated oils (margarines and vegetable shortenings) can all increase cancer risks. Minimize consumption of all.
3. Drinking alcohol. Even in modest amounts, alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
4. A daily intake of conventionally raised meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products. These may contain hormone residues that influence estrogen metabolism. Replace with organic, hormone-free versions and use sparingly.
Unfortunately, the nutritional suggestions outlined above may not be easy or “fun” to incorporate into every day life; however, for those that take these health suggestions to heart, it may prevent the development of BC or it may add years to the lives of those battling BC.
Last night I attended an amazing event surrounding nutrition and cancer, organized by NuGenesis Farms and The Medical College of WI…stay tuned for a summary of this incredible evening.