A woman may reduce her risk for breast cancer by eating higher amounts of foods with nutrients and antioxidants proven to fight cancer.
Certain vitamins and nutrients can reduce your risk for breast cancer. If you meet breast cancer risk factors, eat the following 11 healthy foods to lower your risk.
1. Dark Leafy Greens
Kale, spinach, and collard greens are some of the many dark, leafy greens that can fight breast cancer. Leafy greens get loaded with antioxidants that can destroy free radicals that cause cancer. In a 2012 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers found that women who ate dark leafy greens had a far lower breast cancer risk than women who didn’t eat these vegetables.
Dark leafy greens go great with nearly every meal. Sautee them in garlic and olive oil, or add them to salads and sandwiches. They also taste great in soups and chilis.
Dark leafy greens include:
- Bok choy
- Collard greens
- Dandelion greens
- Mustard greens
- Swiss chard
- Turnip greens
Berries contain antioxidants and vitamins that can protect cells, repair damaged cells, and slow the spread of cancer cells. Darker berries have 50% more antioxidants than lighter berries. In a 2016 study published in the journal Antioxidants, researchers found that blackberries and blueberries, in particular, may destroy breast tumors and cancer cells.
Berries go great with cereal, Greek yogurt, and oatmeal. They can also get added to fruit salads. Choose fresh berries over dehydrated berries, as the latter usually contain added sugars and fewer nutrients.
3. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits contain vitamin C, folate, calcium, and many other nutrients that may prevent and fight breast cancer. In a 2013 study published in the Journal of Breast Cancer, researchers learned that women who ate plenty of citrus fruits were 10% less likely to get breast cancer.
Citrus fruits can be eaten plain as a snack between meals. They can also enhance the flavor of tea and water. Try using citrus fruits as an ingredient in salsas, marinades, salads, and healthy desserts.
Citrus fruits include:
4. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are high in probiotics, which are live “healthy” bacteria and yeasts. Probiotics are good for your digestion. They can also prevent your body from absorbing harmful toxins that cause breast cancer. According to a 2019 study published in Oncology Reviews, probiotics can even strengthen the immune system to fight cancer.
Fermented foods include:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Raw cheese
- Sourdough bread
Kefir tastes like a drinkable yogurt. Kombucha is a carbonated drink that contains black tea and natural sugars. Kimchi is a flavorful Korean vegetable dish that contains cabbage. Natto is a dish made with fermented soybeans.
Many fermented foods also have antioxidants and nutrients that can reduce your breast cancer risk. Experiment with various fermented foods to find the ones you like best, then start eating them regularly.
5. Fatty Fish
Certain types of fish contain healthy fats and antioxidants that can reduce inflammation associated with breast cancer. According to a 2020 study published in In Vivo, women who eat high amounts of fatty fish have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who do not consume fatty fish.
Fatty fish is best when baked or smoked, and also tastes great when used in fish tacos and sandwiches.
Types of healthy fatty fish include:
6. Allium Veggies
“Allium” is the Latin word for garlic. However, there are many more vegetables in the allium family shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Allium vegetables contain high amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants. They also have sulfurous compounds that can prevent blood clots and strengthen the immune system.
In a 2016 study published in the Journal of Breast Cancer, researchers found that women who ate lots of raw garlic and leeks had a lower risk of breast cancer.
Allium veggies include:
Allium veggies can get added to nearly every meal, especially onions and garlic. Add these vegetables to stir-fry meals, soups, stews, chilis, and salads.
Beans are a superfood loaded with fiber, vitamins, and many other nutrients that ward off breast cancer. The antioxidants in beans can prevent inflammation and repair damaged cells. The vitamins and minerals in beans can also strengthen the immune system to make you less vulnerable to illnesses and diseases like cancer.
Several medical studies show that women who eat high amounts of beans have a lower risk of breast cancer. In a 2018 study published in Cancer Medicine, women who ate lots of beans reduced their breast cancer risk by 20%. In a 2020 study published in Current Developments in Nutrition, women who ate lots of beans alone or in cakes, soups, puddings, and porridge were 28% less likely to get breast cancer.
When buying beans, avoid canned beans whenever possible. Canned beans usually contain high amounts of sodium and additives. Buy dry beans instead, which can be cooked quickly and conveniently in a pressure cooker. Dry beans are generally low in cost and easy to store and keep on hand.
Beans are extremely versatile and can be used in soups, chilis, stews, and burritos. Beans are also a fun ingredient to use in healthy vegan desserts like brownies.
Beans that can reduce your breast cancer risk include:
- Black beans
- Kidney beans
- Navy beans
- Pinto beans
8. Spices and Herbs
Spices and herbs often get used in small amounts to flavor meals. However, these foods contain high amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, and fatty acids that may prevent breast cancer. Plus, they can get added to nearly every meal to boost its flavor and increase its nutritional value.
Turmeric is one of the most well-known anti-cancer spices. This spice reduces inflammation and cell damage. The primary anti-cancer agent in turmeric is curcumin. Turmeric is an earthy, peppery spice used in many Indian dishes and curries. This spice can also get added to rice, soups, and tea.
Oregano is another powerful herb connected to a reduced risk of breast cancer. In a 2017 study published in BioMed Research International, researchers found that oregano has antioxidants that can destroy aggressive breast cancer cells. Oregano can be added to nearly every Italian and Mexican dish.
Spices and herbs found to reduce the risk of breast cancer include:
- Black pepper
- Cayenne pepper
9. Cruciferous Veggies
Cruciferous vegetables are known to be a potent cancer-fighting food. After they are chewed and digested, cruciferous veggies form special compounds that can fight and prevent cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, these foods can prevent cell damage, reduce inflammation, and destroy harmful cancer cells. They can also deactivate carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) and prevent blood vessels from forming inside tumors. A 2020 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that women who ate high amounts of cruciferous veggies had a reduced risk of breast cancer.
Cruciferous veggies include:
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
Nearly all these vegetables taste great when added to salads and sandwiches, or when served with fish, poultry, and lean meats. They can also get added to rice bowls, soups, stews, and chilis.
Many studies show that pomegranates may prevent and fight estrogen-dependent cancers, including breast cancer. Pomegranates contain compounds called ellagitannins that can stop the growth and spread of breast cancer cells, according to a 2010 study published in Cancer Prevention Research. In a 2015 study published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, researchers found that fermented pomegranate juice reduced the formation of breast cancer lesions by 75% to 90%.
Drinking pomegranate juice is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to add this fruit to your diet. If you buy whole pomegranates, eat the seeds plain by themselves or add them to salads, oatmeal, yogurt, and smoothies.
11. Green Tea
Green tea contains compounds and various antioxidants that reduce a woman’s breast cancer risk. According to a 2014 study published in the World Journal of Clinical Oncology, women who drink at least 10 cups of green tea may be able to prevent breast cancer. Green tea can reduce inflammation and destroy free radicals that cause various types of cancer.
When buying green tea, choose loose tea leaves or buy tea bags without food coloring or other harmful additives. Do not buy commercial brands of green tea with high amounts of sugar and artificial flavors that can cancel out the health benefits of the tea.
Breast Cancer Treatment At Lompoc Valley Medical Center
Lompoc Valley Medical Care offers breast cancer screening and treatment. Visit our provider page today to make an appointment and learn more about our many available healthcare services for you and your family.