Cardiologist, author, and heart health expert Dr. Sarah Samaan offers advice on how to live a heart smart life.See all posts »
Breast Cancer and Your Heart
More evidence that a heart-healthy diet reduces breast cancer risk.
Heart disease kills more than six times as many women as breast cancer, and the risk of heart disease is rising in women under 50. Despite the efforts of the American Heart Association, many women still believe that breast cancer is their greatest threat. While most cases of heart disease are preventable with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and a heart smart lifestyle, the risks for breast cancer are not as well defined.
As it turns out, many of the factors that contribute to heart disease also raise the likelihood of developing breast cancer. For instance, we now know that obesity increases the risk for breast cancer, as does lack of regular exercise. A Mediterranean diet, rich in fish, greens and fruits, whole grains, and olive oil, may be protective. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently published an analysis of 10 studies of dietary fiber intake, including over 700,000 women, and reported a greater than 10 percent reduction in breast cancer risk in those who chose a diet with plenty of fiber, when compared to those whose diet was lacking. While this may not be a huge difference, it illustrates how simple changes in the way we live have the potential to save lives.
It’s good to know that the things we do to protect our heart and our brains may also help to keep us cancer free. Of course, no one is immune from any health problem, so no matter how healthy your lifestyle may be, be sure to check in with your doctor regularly, and stay up to date with your health screenings, including blood tests, mammograms, and colonoscopies.
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