Diet & Nutrition
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Diet & Nutrition

Maintaining a Balanced Diet with Breast Cancer

We celebrated the International Day of Action for Women’s Health on May 28th to raise awareness on the issues related to women’s health and well-being and her rights to health because a healthy woman is the foundation of a healthy country. :)

One of the top health issues faced by women in the current 21st century is breast cancer. Also the second leading cause of death in women population in many countries after heart disease. Breast cancer, which is the most frequently diagnosed malignancy in women today, remains a major threat. There is growing evidence that shows a healthy diet has a protective effect on breast cancer.

Hormone metabolism and obesity are two diet-related factors that appear to be directly or indirectly associated with breast cancer. Although the link between fat intake and breast cancer is controversial, following a diet low in fat and high in fiber, fruit, and vegetables is good advice. Weight gain in adulthood is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women. A study in the Netherlands revealed that a dietary pattern that combined low intake of fat and high intakes of fiber and fermented milk products provided substantial protection against the disease.

Let us now discuss the 8 Diet tips for maintaining a balanced diet and preventing breast cancer.

  1. Add soy-based foods to your diet- Soy-based foods such as tofu, soy milk, and edamame are a good source of phytochemicals called phytoestrogens, which are similar to estrogen in the human body. They lower the risk and return of cancer. A recent study of breast cancer in Singapore demonstrated that soybean products were protective against premenopausal breast cancer.

2. Reduce sugar intake- The idea that sugar helps cancer grow faster has been going on for many years. A lot of sugar intake regularly can lead to obesity and other conditions that make cancer more likely. It is always wise to keep an eye on how much you consume.

3. Include fruits and vegetables for immunity- If you eat more plant-based foods, you may lower your chances of getting breast cancer. Many types of research have shown it helps to lower even the aggressive type tumors. Fruits and vegetables are the essential part of a diet that will help you control your weight, which is key to keeping breast cancer from coming back.

4. Add whole grains to your plate- Adding less processed wheat, oats, corn, rice, jowar, and barley to your diet, you may be less likely to get breast cancer. They are a good source of phytochemicals and help in the prevention of heart diseases.

5. Limit alcohol intake- The link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer is dark. Beer, wine, and liquor boost estrogen in the body, which raises the risks of tumors that are sensitive to that hormone. It is best to drink occasionally or in moderation. Studies have shown that women who drink more than 2 times a week are more likely to have cancer again.

6. Eating good fats in all your meals- A healthy diet can include a range of fat levels from 20 to 35% of total calories. For breast cancer survivors some research shows that a diet lower in fat may reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. A lower-fat diet may also help women to achieve weight loss and is beneficial in the prevention and treatment of heart diseases. When following a low-fat diet, it is important to focus on both the total amount and type of fat you eat. Choosing fats found in plant-based foods such as nuts, seeds, avocados, and vegetable oils is preferred to saturated fat from animals. When eating a low-fat diet, it is also important to focus on replacing fat with foods that are minimally processed or refined- this includes choosing whole grains, beans, and lentils rather than bad fats which come in foods like beef, butter, cheese, ice cream, fried foods, and commercial baked goods.

7. Eat foods rich in plant compounds:

Flavonoids- These are plant-based chemicals linked to lower breast cancer odds. The evidence is strongest for two specific types, flavonols and flavones, especially for women who are past menopause. Can be found in onions, broccoli, and chamomile tea.

Carotenoids- Another plant-based chemical linked to lower breast cancer risk. It is found in all orange, yellow, and dark green vegetables and fruits. Examples- carrots, pumpkins, winter squash, spinach, kale, and sweet potatoes. Consuming them as food is best, carotenoids supplements are dangerous.

Phenols- Studies show these types of plant chemicals may lower your chances of breast cancer and in some cases slow tumor growth. Sources- garlic, green tea, soybeans, flaxseed, broccoli, cabbage, tomato, brinjal, cucumber, and watermelon.

8. Regular physical activity is a must- Make sure to keep some time in the day to participate in regular physical activity as it has several health benefits and is safe for women with breast cancer. Being active can help you take control and maintain sound physical and mental health. It also helps to achieve weight loss and keep healthy ideal body weight.

A Diet may well make the difference between the promotion or prevention of breast cancer. Thus, a low-fat diet high in plant-based sources, fiber, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is sound advice along with drinking responsibly and wisely and being physically active will improve your health status. Not only can it make you feel better faster, but it can boost your immune system and keep you strong to fight and be cancer-free! 😊🎗️

References:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/000282239392036W

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378512213003149

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/316720

https://www.healthline.com/health/metastatic-breast-cancer/nutrition

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