We have good news and bad news.
First, the bad – er, not-so-good – news: there’s no food that’s proven to prevent, or cure, any form of cancer, like breast cancer.
The good news? There are plenty of foods that improve your overall vitality, strengthening the body, and as a result, lessening your risk of breast cancer.
Obesity is one of the primary factors linked to breast cancer, so eating well and weight management are keys toward lowering the likelihood of a breast cancer diagnosis, explains Alexandra Rothwell, RD, CDN, a specialist in oncology nutrition.
Rothwell also notes inflammation as another crucial factor to be mindful of when it comes to breast cancer. That’s why she suggests foods that not only keeps blood-sugar levels in check, but inflammation as well.
These following 4 foods accomplish all that, and more.
In addition to all of those other health benefits already linked to olive oil, this healthy fat has been linked to reducing breast cancer risks, too.
A September 2015 study found that adding 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to a fruit-and-veggie-rich diet lowered the risk of breast cancer by 68%.
But wait, there’s more: olive oil has the added benefit linked to breast density, which is another risk for cancer. A 2014 study of more than 3,500 women discovered ingesting an extra 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil daily resulted in lower breast density.
Rothwell suggests salmon, sardines, and mackerel as fishy additions to your diet, considering their strong sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
“We know that omega-3s help decrease inflammation in the body,” she says. “You can also eat walnuts and seeds if you want a non-animal source.”
And like olive oil, consuming more omega-3s has too been linked to a reduction in breast density, as shown in this 2014 study in Cancer Causes & Control.
Fruits & Veggies
Bow to the power of plants! Really, have they ever let us down?
Every time, studies have found that plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of breast cancer.
This can be for a few reasons. Fruit-and-veggie diets are high in antioxidants, which lowers breast cancer risks, according to this 2015 study. The high fiber in fruits and veggies are said to fuel a healthier body, and diminish the risk of cancers, suggest in a 2011 European Journal of Nutrition paper.
Rothwell recommends eating cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower), allin vegetables (onions, leeks, and garlic), and Asian mushrooms (Shiitake, Chinese black, and oyster) in particular.
As for fruit, she says, “Stick to low-sugar varieties, like berries, and limit high-sugar fruit, such as bananas, pineapples, and mangoes, so that you can keep your blood sugar levels normal.”
We know what you’re thinking – isn’t soy associated with an increased risk of breast cancer?
Not quite. While soy does have estrogen-like compounds, and estrogen has been linked to some cancers, soy foods do not cause breast cancer.
Various studies have actually connected soy with a reduced risk of cancer – with one exception. If you have the BRCA2 mutation gene, soy may increase your risk, according to 2013 research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Generally, says Rothwell, you can enjoy soy as a part of any healthy diet, with no fears or apprehensions that it’ll lead to breast cancer.
“Just make sure that you are eating whole, organic soy products like the beans, tofu, and tempeh, because you don’t know what processing can do.”
Photo Credit: Ryzhkov Photography/Shutterstock.com; ifong/Shutterstock.com; Teri Virbickis/Shutterstock.com