Body weight, physical activity, and alcohol intake are three important factors known to influence a woman’s risk of breast cancer. In fact, the American Cancer Society states that the following healthy habits may offer significant protection against the disease.
- Be physically active, and get at least 300 minutes of moderate exercise, or 175 minutes of vigorous exercise each week.
- Maintain a healthy body weight throughout your lifetime and avoid excess weight gain as you age.
- Avoid alcohol or limit intake to one drink or less per day.
While the links between diet and breast cancer are not completely clear, research also suggests that a high fiber diet featuring daily portions of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and/or seeds may protect against breast cancer in a number of ways.
Join me in our latest Dignity Health, YRMC’s Your Healthy Kitchen to learn more about the important role fiber seems to play in reducing a woman’s risk of breast cancer and check out our new, delicious recipe! It’s a gorgeous vegetable curry packed with fiber, cancer-fighting nutrients, and savory, seasonal flavors.
Researchers offer a number of theories for why and how a plant-forward, high fiber diet may reduce breast cancer risk.
As fiber moves through the digestive system, it binds with and removes estrogens and estrogen metabolites from the body. This may protect women from estrogen-positive breast cancer.
A high fiber diet may also lower blood sugar and insulin levels after meals. Some research suggests that chronically elevated insulin levels in the blood – which can occur in diabetes, pre-diabetes, or even after high-carb, low fiber meals – may contribute to increased breast cancer risk.
High fiber foods and meals fill us up and reduce cravings for munchies throughout the day. This likely helps us to maintain a healthy weight.
In addition, many plant foods contain important phtyonutrients with anti-cancer properties. A few of the phytonutrients currently under study for protection against breast cancer include:
- Curcumin – present in turmeric.
- Ellagitannins – concentrated in berries, pomegranate seeds, and nuts.
- EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate) – found in green tea.
- Quercitin – concentrated in onions. Other sources include raspberries, apples, cherries, tea, and red grapes.
- Kaempferol – mostly found in green leafy vegetables.
Remember to check out dozens of additional videos and delicious recipes at yrmchealthconnect.org. Our recipes are curated or created with ease or preparation, cost, flavor, and health in mind, and you’ll find something for everyone on the Your Healthy Kitchen blog. You can also follow me on Facebook, at YRMC’s Your Healthy Kitchen, where I regularly post the plant-forward meals I make at home, plus share links to my favorite food and recipe sites on the web.