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Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in America. And with October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re reminded that while we may not be able to predict or prevent breast cancer, there are ways we can help lower the risk.
It’s important that we treat our bodies with the upmost care – that means exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight. What you eat has a great effect on your health, even more of a reason to get those five to nine recommended servings of fruit and vegetables in per day. Start by adding some of these cancer-fighting foods to your daily dietary plan.
1. Broccoli: Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a potent compound that is found in plants and helps fight against disease by raising the body’s protective enzymes and targeting cancer stem cells. That’s a good enough reason to add more of the green-stemmed vegetable to your daily diet. Try eating broccoli raw, though, as boiling can potentially destroy some sulforaphane.
2. Beans (Fiber): Bean lovers will be happy to know that while the starch found in dry beans may help to keep blood sugar consistent, they are also a great source of high fiber, another important ally in the fight against breast cancer. By having just 20-30 grams of fiber daily, you can lower estrogen levels, the most potential cause of cancer.
>> Read more: The Importance of Fiber in Your Diet
3. Fish Oil/Salmon: Fish is good for more than just protein and fitting in your macros. The omega-3 fats in fish oil can help reduce inflammation, as well as lower the risk of ductal carcinoma, the most common type of breast cancer. Not crazy about fish oil supplements? Try eating at least six to eight ounces of salmon per week or a handful of walnuts, another good source of omega-3 fats.
>> Recipe: Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon
4. Mushrooms: Mushrooms can recognize cancer cells and block tumor growth. Because they prevent the estrogen-producing enzyme named aromatase, eating just a few button mushrooms a day can greatly reduce the risk of breast cancer by 64 percent. The only other food that is also capable of such is pomegranate.
5. Apples: While apples alone are a good source of vitamin C, the skin is especially rich in antioxidants and fiber. Maybe there is some truth to the saying “an apple a day will keep the doctor away.” Reach for the red or pink streaked apples the next time you’re at the grocery store. They contain more antioxidants and antiproliferative phytochemicals than green apples.
Most importantly, in order to detect early breast cancer, every woman should have a clinical breast exam every one to three years beginning at age 20. Women over 40 should have a clinical breast exam each year. Maybe this October would be a good time to schedule your next mammogram appointment!
>> Read more: The Great Mammogram Debate