Vicki Shanta Retelny is a registered dietitian nutritionist. She says food is lifestyle medicine and can play a role in preventing breast cancer.
She recommends a variety of colorful plant foods for antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats, especially:
Berries contain colorful pigments in their skin that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help fend off cancer.
Blueberries, especially wild blueberries, have twice the antioxidants as conventionally grown blueberries. The blueish-purplish skins of blueberries contain anthocyanins, powerful pigments that prevent damage to the cells, which can lead to the proliferation of cancer cells.
Flaxseeds are packed with omega-3 fats, as well as lignans – a powerful plant estrogen, which is 800 times higher in flaxseeds than any other plant food. Ground flaxseeds (and lignans, in particular) have been shown to prevent breast cancer risk. Sprinkle a tablespoon or two into oatmeal, yogurt, and salads.
Leafy greens (Swiss chard, collard greens, spinach) have antioxidant carotenoids, which have anticancer properties from high amounts of lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene. Creating a daily salad daily can keep breast cancer risk at bay.
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts, kale) are packed with potent anticancer compounds, specifically sulforaphane. It’s highest in the raw form and when cut, chopped, chewed this compound is more bioavailable.
Whole grains (brown rice, farro, quinoa, oats, and barley) are packed with beneficial plant compounds called phytochemicals, as well as dietary fiber, which can promote weight loss and decrease weight gain by filling you up faster and longer. Plus, whole grains may fend off insulin resistance and inflammation in the body, which are risk factors for cancer.
Pulses (beans, peas, and lentils) have shown potential in cancer prevention as they are packed with phytochemicals, micronutrients, and dietary fiber, which are anti-inflammatory, keeps blood sugar stable, aids in weight loss and management and balances the gut microbiome with beneficial bacteria.
Join WGN News Saturday, October 28 at 6:30 p.m. for “Stories of Hope – Facing Breast Cancer” — a half-hour special that will explore a variety of topics for patients and their families including fertility preservation, nutrition and even aritificial intelligence and its use in mammography.
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