Guest Author - A. Maria Hester, M.D.
The American Association for Cancer Research recently released data which showed that postmenopausal women who frequently consume tea and strawberries have a lower risk of developing breast cancer than those who do not. This trend was not seen among premenopausal women, however.
Brian Fink of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, analyzed data on over 1,500 postmenopausal women with and without breast cancer. Women between the ages of 20-98 were studied by way of questionnaires regarding issues such as their environment, occupations, and lifestyles. The results showed that those women who had a high consumption of foods like tea and strawberries were less likely to develop breast cancer.
While there are various types of dietary flavonoids, this particular study found a reduction in risk of breast cancer with specific types. Flavones, flavan-3-ols, and lignans were associated with a reduced risk, while flavanones, isoflavones, and anthrocyanadins were not.
While tea was the major source of beneficial flavonoids in this study, strawberries and apples were also found to be of benefit. Of note, onions and celery are also good sources of these nutrients.
While the chances of curing early breast cancer continue to improve, being equipped to prevent this potentially devastating disease would be far better than curing it once it has developed. Many scientific studies have produced a myriad of evidence suggesting that our environment, including our dietary habits, plays a huge role in our risk of developing various types of cancer, including breast cancer.
In the past few years more research dollars have been allocated to natural healing. The National Institutes of Health has a very active branch which deals with these issues (The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine). This website is a great resource for learning about the evidence supporting the use of many foods and natural products.
It is imperative that all women take a proactive approach to their health. While we are, by nature, caregivers we often fail to give ourselves the same high level of care we give to our loved ones. With a health care system that is perpetually in flux and many experts predicting a shortage of up to 200,000 doctors by the year 2020, prevention should be our focus. Instead of dealing with a health crisis at a time when appointments to see your doctor may be hard to come by (and limited by what insurance you have) women should learn all they can about how to prevent disease AND make it a point to encourage and inspire other women to do the same. Even in 2006, that famous old saying still packs a powerful punch of wisdom, An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.
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