Eat more fiber, less animal fat and more organically-raised foods to prevent breast cancer
Animal studies have shown that a high intake of saturated (read animal products from meats to dairy foods) fats may increase the risk of breast cancer. Based on this, a research team from the University of Malmo in Sweden devised a study using information gathered on more than 11,000 postmenopausal women. They found women who had the highest intake of dietary fiber were 40 percent less likely to develop breast cancer compared with those with the lowest fiber intake. But for women who combined a high fiber diet with a low intake of dietary fats, the risk dropped even more.
What does this mean? It means cut out fatty meats, cheeses, whole milk, chicken and turkey skin and fried foods for starters.
Everyone needs some fat to keep the skin, hair and nervous system from drying out, but the best source is olive oil. (It is a general lubricant that can help with joints and digestion, too, and one study provided evidence that a high consumption of olive oil was significantly related to a lower risk of breast cancer, while eating saturated fats is highly correlated with dying from the condition.)
Eat water-soluble fiber from fruits, vegetables, dried beans, whole oatsand barley, nuts and seeds.
Most people don't eat enough water-soluble fiber to produce the positive results shown in the Milan study. But good quality, water-soluble fiber is easy to come by when a little care is taken to find unrefined sources of these foods:
* Fruits, including oranges, peaches, apples, and grapes
* Vegetables, including carrots, squash (both high in carotenes), raw spinach (lutein-rich) and anything with tomatoes in it (lycopene-rich). Women with the highest levels of these nutrients had an incredible 400% less risk of breast cancer than those low in these antioxidants and those who ate foods high in vitamin E reduced breast cancer risk by 50% to 90%. Vitamin-E rich foods include asparagus, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower (eat especially the outer leaves contain DIM that improves breast cancer suppression genes).
* Nuts and seeds (in particular, psyllium seeds; a health food store item.)
* Legumes, including peanuts, lentils, peas, and kidney, black, and pinto beans
* Whole grain oats and barley, eggs, and sweet potatoes (contain vitamin E to lower risk)
* Flax seeds or flax seed oil. Find them at your health food store. Either toast the seeds and put them in cereal or on top of soups or salads or use the oil. (A number of studies have shown that a water-soluble fiber called lignan, found in flax seeds, may have a protective effect against breast cancer and also protects your heart!)
Here are some specific ways to lower yor breast cancer risk:
* Eat more fish, which is the No. 1 source of cancer-inhibiting omega-3 fatty acids. But to avoid high mercury content, specifically tuna, tilefish, swordfish, shark, king mackerel, red snapper, moonfish and orange roughy.
* If you must eat meat and fowl, buy organically raised, 'grass-fed' beef and pork and free-range chicken and turkey. See your health food store about ordering you some. Organic and free-range meat contains less omega-6 (the "bad" fatty acids) and much more omega-3 fatty acid content (the "good" fatty acids) as well as less residue from pesticides, insecticides and herbicides (all of which have been linked to breast cancer).
* Whenever possible, eat organic food. If you live in or near a rural area, check with farmers to see whether they raise animals organically. Also, ask your grocery store manager to order it. If you look around your grocery store, you'll no doubt see organically grown produce mixed in with the pesticide/herbicide full kind. How do you think that got there? Folks just like you asked for it and if there's a market for it, your manager will get in, rest assured. If you can't find or afford organic, you can still decrease your breast cancer risk by at least cutting back as much as possible on 'regular' sources of saturated fat and animal protein -mostly the sort you find in supermarkets, such as grain-fed beef, chickens raised in cages, etc.
* Get rid of the margarine! Margarine is made from hydrogenated oil, which is rich in trans fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. Use olive oil. It can even be drizzled on toast!
* Avoid cow's milk. Studies have shown an association between milk intake and an increased risk of breast cancer.
* Avoid alcohol in any form. Even a modest amount is correlated with increased risk of breast cancer.
Exercise to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
One study showed that women who exercised regularly may reduce their risk of one of the most common types of breast cancer (breast carcinoma in situ, which is confined to the milk glands and is a very common type) by as much as 35 percent, even if they only exercise lightly. This could be gardening, a daily walk or going dancing with that special someone.
Drink Green Tea to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk.
One study demonstrated how extracts of green tea inhibited breast cancer cells from manufacturing the new blood vessels necessary to promote cancer cell growth. Another study shows a relationship between chlorination in drinking water and cancer; install a water filter, reverse osmosis is best, or drink distilled water.
Help Your Breasts Filter out Toxins to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk.
One epidemiological study showed that women who wear a bra, especially a push-up design, for more than twelve hours a day, are at a greater risk for breast cancer. The researchers theorize this may be because restrictive bras prevent the lymph system from filtering out toxins. Never wear a bra for more than twelve hours a day and never wear a bra that feels tight when you put it on or that leaves red marks or indentations near the bra line. Purchase a larger bra that does not constrict your tissues.
Get Enough Vitamin D to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk.
Get into the sun daily or take a supplement that provides vitamin D. This vitamin's metabolites may reduce breast cancer risk.
Obtain Counseling to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk after Abuse
If you've been sexually abused, obtain psychotherapy from a mental health nurse practitioner or psychologist. One study found that past sexual assault was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
Avoid Exposure to Magnetic Fields to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Power lines, radio, TV or cellular phone towers, sitting or working close to microwave ovens, electric blankets, may increase your risk of breast cancer. A study of 1.1 million women showed that those exposed to a potential magnetic field had an increased risk of breast cancer.
Avoid Hormone Use to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Taking oral contraceptives and estrogen are both correlated with breast cancer.
Follow these simple lifestyle guidelines, and you may dramatically lower your chances of receiving that dreaded diagnosis of breast cancer.
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