Here are some tips and tactics for breast cancer prevention in women.
Focus on good fats
Limit the polyunsaturated fats (in corns, safflower, and sunflower oils) and saturated fats (in meat and dairy) in your diet, high levels of either have been linked to breast cancer. Opt for more monounsaturated fats, such as olive and canola oils. Each additional 10 grams of monounsaturated fat a woman consumes, drop breast cancer risk by an estimated 45%. Every extra 5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, on the other hand, increases breast cancer risk by 69%.
Maintain a healthy weight
The more weight women gain after age 18, the greater their risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer. Women who gain more than 70 pounds during adulthood double the risk. The extra pounds likely increase estrogen production, which can fuel cancer growth. But if you have gained weight since your teens, don’t despair. One study showed that while women who were inactive and overweight had twice the risk of breast cancer of those who were lean and active, being heavier alone did not seem to increase risk among women who regularly exercised.
Carotenoids are powerful cancer protective pigments found in a wide array of fruits and vegetables. Women with the low carotenoid levels have twice the breast cancer risk of women with high levels. Aim for five to nine, one cup daily servings of fruits and vegetables, especially carrots, tomatoes, watermelon, and spinach.
Learn to enjoy soy
Soy foods contain phytoestrogens, plant substances that behave in the body like weak forms of estrogen and may protect against breast cancer by latching onto estrogen receptors in breast tissue and locking out cancer-fueling estrogen produced in the body. Include one to two servings of soy food daily, a cup of soy milk, and half a cup of tofu or soy nuts.
Flavor food with flaxseed
These nutty tasting seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which in addition to protecting against heart disease may lower the risk of all types of cancer. Flaxseed is also loaded with lignans, compounds that may decrease estrogen action in the body. Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed on your morning cereal, mix it into smoothies or use flaxseeds oil in salad dressings.
Put out the cigarette
Women with the family history of breast and ovarian cancer may increase their own risks if they smoke, and that smoker who develop breast cancer are twice as likely to get an aggressive form that is not dependent on estrogen to develop and grow. Secondhand smoke can also be a cause of breast cancer, mainly in younger women.
Avoid unnecessary antibiotics
The next time you have a cough or the flu; don’t automatically pester your doctor for a prescription. New evidence suggests that the more often you take antibiotics, the higher your breast cancer risk. A study of more than 10,000 women showed the double the breast cancer risk among those who took antibiotics for more than 500 cumulative days over an average of 17 years compared with women who never took the drugs. Researchers caution, however, that other factors, such as underlying illness, a weakened immune system, or hormonal imbalances, could account for the elevated risk.
Choose to breast feed
Not only can it benefit your infant but lactation also can suppress ovulation and your body’s production of estrogen. Breastfeeding alone would account for two-thirds of the reduced risk. For each year of breastfeeding a woman’s breast cancer risk drops 4 percent.