Like other illnesses, there’s no way to guarantee that you’ll never be diagnosed with breast cancer, but some lifestyle changes can affect your risk, including what’s on your plate.
“There’s no superfood that will protect you from cancer by itself, but a healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help reduce your risk of certain cancers,” says Lynn Nichols, registered dietitian at Riddle Hospital.
While fruits and vegetables are a healthy and necessary component to anyone’s diet, women can benefit from eating five or more cups of fruits or vegetables per day. These foods provide antioxidants, which decrease inflammation and protect DNA from the effects of free radicals, which can help reduce cancer risk.
When it comes to adding fiber to your diet, think outside the box. Whole grain bread, fruits, vegetables and beans aren’t the only options. “Try some new grains like quinoa, bulgar, flax seeds and chia seeds. Add nuts and seeds to your salads, smoothies and yogurt.” says Nichols.
In addition to these foods, a good rule of thumb is to stick to a low-fat diet. Research suggests that fat found in red meat, high-fat dairy products, and vegetable shortening is more likely to increase your risk for breast cancer. Try to go meatless once a week, and only eat fried foods, and processed baked goods occasionally to lower your fat intake.
While watching what you eat can help curb your risk for breast cancer, the best way to ensure breast health throughout your life is by getting a regular mammogram.