Breast cancer 3d illustration

The most common cancer is breast cancer, accounting for approximately 12.5% of cancer cases. Over 3.8 million women have a history of breast cancer as of January 2022. Have you wondered what causes breast cancer? The causes mainly include hormonal, environmental, lifestyle, and hereditary factors. While these factors can put you at risk of breast cancer, there are ways to lower them.  

Loading your plate with particular healthy food can be an excellent foundation for a breast cancer prevention diet. Incorporating these foods might not prevent breast cancer if you already have them, but it can help you lead a healthy lifestyle and ward off the risk of further complications. Food choices play an essential role in determining your health, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology estimated that changes in your eating style could prevent 30% of breast cancer cases.  

So, if this sounds alluring, what else could be better than making the right food choices now? Read to know the five best foods to lower breast cancer risk, regardless of age.  

1. Soy Foods 

Several studies show a diet rich in a moderate amount of soy foods can lower the risk of breast cancer among women. These foods are abundant in fiber, isoflavones, and protein, offering many health benefits. In contrast, some would say that high estrogen levels increase breast cancer risk. So, isoflavones in soy-based food are plant estrogens that might increase your risks too. But it’s not true. The content of isoflavones in soy foods is extremely low and much weaker than the estrogen produced in the human body; hence, it cannot be linked to an increased risk of cancer.  

Consuming a moderate quantity of foods like tofu, soy milk, soybean oil, edamame, etc., will hardly have any cancerous effect on your body. Even researchers claim that soy-based foods may lower your risk of developing breast cancer by blocking the effect of estrogen in the breast tissues. This way, it plays an active role in reducing your risks to a great extent.  

soy foods

2. Turmeric 

In most Asian cuisines, turmeric is a popular and common ingredient that gives it a beautiful aroma and yellow color. This color is due to the chemical curcumin present in turmeric. Certain studies show that when combined with cancer treatment like drug-based therapy, curcumin supplements in turmeric can significantly fight breast cancer tumors.  

The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric are highly effective in reducing inflammation which is primarily responsible for causing cancer. So, curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects can play a huge role in protecting your overall health. Including vegetable curries full of onions, broccoli, garlic, and turmeric can be a significant breast cancer prevention diet. It can retard the growth of cancerous cells, stop their reproduction and prevent it from spreading. Curcumin can be especially effective for a few types of breast cancer as it can help lower the estrogen level.  

3. Flaxseed 

Although flax seeds may look small, you mustn’t go by their size. These tiny seeds come packed with essential nutrients that help maintain good health. When you eat them whole or as powder, these superfoods can help to alleviate the risk of developing breast cancer.  

Flaxseeds are among the best sources of lignan, a phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens are compounds that copy the estrogen’s effect. Indeed, they are not powerful, but they can help lower breast cancer risks. Lignan works by blocking the production and metabolism of your body’s estrogens. Moreover, several studies show a link between higher consumption of flaxseed and lowered risk of cancer. Also, omega-3 fatty acids present in flaxseeds enhance the drug’s effectiveness that one takes during chemotherapy. It blocks specific pathways and boosts cell growth.  

So, if you aren’t already consuming flaxseeds, it’s time to incorporate them into your diet by adding them to your salads, curd, oats, etc.   

Flax seed, Seeds

4. Garlic 

Garlic has antimicrobial, anticancer, antithrombotic, radioprotective, hypolipidemic, and anti-inflammatory effects. Several chemicals found in garlic, including apigenin, ajoene, allicin, enterolactone, and the related molecules diallyl disulfide and diallyl trisulfide, have been claimed to have anti-breast cancer properties. 

Garlic to reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

Numerous studies have demonstrated that the components of garlic suppress proliferation, lessen migration and invasiveness, and trigger apoptosis in human breast cancer cells that have been cultivated. Garlic has been proven to reduce DNA strand breaks brought on by carcinogens, limit protein folding and DNA and RNA synthesis in breast cancer cells, stop the cell cycle and trigger death in breast cancer cells, and inhibit angiogenesis. Garlic is an excellent source of flavone apigenin that induces apoptosis across various breast cancer cell lines.  

5. Dark-Green Leafy Vegetables 

Spinach, kale, and collard greens are among the most popular dark green leafy vegetables that can help fight or lower breast cancer risks. Leafy vegetables are rich sources of antioxidants that help destroy the free radicals responsible for causing cancer. An article published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute also stated that women who consume leafy veggies are less likely to develop breast cancer compared to women who don’t.  

Dark leafy greens include Bok choy, Arugula, Dandelion greens, Collard greens, mustard greens, kale, spinach, etc. Nearly every dish pairs well with dark leafy greens. Add them to salads and sandwiches, or sauté them in garlic and olive oil. They are delicious in chili and soups as well.  

The Bottom Line 

Overall, cancer risk is complicated, but your diet has an impact. A healthy diet full of the foods mentioned above may help lower the chance of developing breast cancer. Limiting or avoiding substances like alcohol, highly processed meats, and sugary meals and beverages may also be important. 

Remember that regular doctor visits and screenings are essential for early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. Talk to a healthcare practitioner if you have concerns about your breast cancer risk or the screening procedure. 

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