Filling our bodies with essential nutrients does more than help us thrive and function. The foods we eat play a crucial role in our long-term health and wellness, including preventing certain diseases.
Did you know that certain foods can help us fight against cancer?
With this in mind, it’s important to remember that many factors go into “how” and “why” we develop illnesses like breast cancer. We covered a few of these risk factors in a previous article. However, it’s hard to deny that good nutrition is a big part of the equation; therefore, it’s essential to understand which foods support breast health and which are better left on store shelves.
Best Foods for Breast Health
In this article, we’ll walk you through 5 foods that support breath health. To compare, we’ll also show you which foods to avoid.
Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries—could they get any better? Well, actually, yes, they can! Because berries contain antioxidants and essential vitamins, they may help reduce your risk of breast cancer.
In a study that observed women with breast cancer who consumed high amounts of fruits and vegetables, findings suggested that blueberries may help slow the development and spread of breast tumors.
Berries are also nutrient-dense, meaning they contain a higher amount of macro-and micro-nutrients than calories per serving.
In addition to dark leafy greens like spinach and collard greens, Kale may also be linked to reducing the risk of developing breast cancer. The reason? These leafy veggies contain chlorophyll, which is known to bind certain carcinogens together, preventing our bodies from absorbing them.
You’ll also find that greens like Kale contain high amounts of Vitamin C and antioxidants, which may help prevent the formation of free radicals.
Another nutrient-dense option, salmon—and other types of fatty fish like tuna, sardines, or trout—contain Omega-3 fats, selenium, and antioxidants, all of which may help reduce your risk of breast cancer.
A study found that women who consumed Omega-3 fatty acids daily reduced their risk of breast cancer by 14%.
Apples and other citrus fruits provide our bodies with dietary fiber and polyphenol compounds that contain antioxidant properties. Many of which are responsible for helping us fight diseases.
Multiple studies have revealed a link between apples and a reduced risk of the estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) form of breast cancer.
Tomatoes are arguably the “all-star” when it comes to cancer-fighting foods. You might remember your parents telling you to eat your tomatoes as a child. Well, mom and dad were right! Because tomatoes offer an excellent source of Vitamin C and cancer-fighting antioxidants.
Additionally, several studies have suggested that a healthy diet of tomatoes may lower the risk of breast cancer for post-menopausal women.
The good news is many of us eat these types of foods every day! But unfortunately, we also consume a few other items that aren’t doing us any favors.
Top Foods to Avoid
Now that we know the best foods for breast health, let’s review the worst.
Baked Goods: Cupcakes, muffins, brownies, cookies…you get the idea. Most of us have a sweet tooth, but when we consume products high in refined carbs and trans fat, we miss out on crucial nutrients. Most of these options have been stripped of their beneficial vitamins and minerals, leaving us with more calories and added sugars.
Need a Sweet Tooth Substitution? If you’re craving something chocolatey, consider snacking on a piece of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is rich in zinc and antioxidants and provides a few surprising health benefits.
Be sure to look for dark chocolate products containing at least 70% of cacao solids, as these have more of the minerals you want and less sugar and milk.
Alcohol: Even in small amounts, alcohol consumption can increase your risk of breast cancer. The reason is it raises your estrogen levels and other hormones that are associated with breast cancer.
Fried Foods: Similarly to baked goods, fried foods are stripped of their essential macro-and-micronutrients. All that is left are calories and trans fats to consume.
It’s recommended that you try to eat no more than 30 grams of fat per day and less than 10% of your calories from saturated fat.
Lifetime Support for Your Breast Health
Though there are many foods that support breast health, a healthy diet is just one piece of the puzzle. Getting your annual mammogram allows you and your healthcare team to stay connected and proactive in your journey to better health.
If you’re due for your mammogram, you can make an appointment now, or walk right into our center conveniently located across from Maple Grove Hospital.
Please call us at (763) 398-6370.