Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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5 Ways to Lower Risk of Breast Cancer

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Do you know 8 women? The most recent stats show that one in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 182,000 women get diagnosed and 40,000 die each year from breast cancer. The causes of cancer are still a mystery to the medical community, but we do know about some links in our lifestyle. We can just do our best to reduce risk.

  1. Maintain healthy weight. Women who are not overweight and who exercise on a regular basis have lower risk of developing many types of cancer including breast cancer. Strenuous exercise has specifically been linked to reducing risk, so push yourself in your workouts. Aim for discomfort but not pain.
  2. Eat more fruits and veggies. The antioxidants and phytochemicals in fruits and veggies help to reduce free radicals, protecting the cells. All types of fruits and veggies are good, so eat those you love and aim for at least 5 per day. The American Cancer Society even recommends getting 9-13 servings per day.
  3. Limit alcohol. Recent studies have shown an increased risk of drinking even one drink per day and breast cancer. Think twice before indulging in alcohol, and make sure you limit yourself to one drink per day.
  4. Follow a low to moderate fat diet. The Women's Intervention Nutrition Study found that women who followed a low fat diet reduced their risk of cancer coming back. Fat is very calorie dense and may cause weight gain or prevent weight loss when eaten in high quantities. Focus on healthy fats like those in walnuts, canola oil, flax, and salmon. Walnuts are especially good because they contain omega-3 fats, antioxidants, and phytosterols that all have been shown to have cancer slowing effects.
  5. Eat whole soy. Breast cancer rates are very low in Asian countries where soy is a staple food. Avoid the supplements, but focus on soy foods like soy nuts, edamame, SOYJOY bars, tofu, and soymilk.

Check out this recipe for Mollie Katzen's Vegetable and Walnut Pizza. YUM!
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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