The Role of Diet in Preventing (or preventing recurrence of) Breast Cancer

GENERAL

  • Eat a wide variety of foods with as much fresh food as possible.
  • Eat an abundance of vegetables and fruits (7-9 servings a day). (there is some evidence for vegetarianism as prevention of cancer)
  • Include omega 3 fatty acids in your diet.
  • Any dairy or beef should be organic to avoid exposure to estrogenic hormones present in conventionally raised cattle.
  • Minimize consumption of refined carbohydrates, processed foods and fast food.
  • If you use a microwave, never microwave in plastic or using plastic wrap as this introduces estrogenic hormone mimics into food.
  • Avoid GMO foods.  They are sprayed with Roundup Ready which contains the chemical glyphosate – a probable carcinogen.  Organic food are not allowed to contain GMO and the GMO project label identifies GMO free foods as well.

CARBOHYDRATES

  • The majority should be vegetables, fruits, beans, whole or cracked grains – or less-refined, less-processed foods with low glycemic loads.
  • Reduce your consumption of foods made with flours (including whole wheat flour). Get organic flour whenever possible as wheat (even though it is not GMO) is sprayed with glyphosate prior to harvest.
  • Avoid products made with high-fructose corn syrup, fructose, honey, molasses and cane sugar.

FAT

  • For omega-3 fatty acids, eat salmon (preferably fresh or frozen wild or canned sockeye), sardines packed in water or olive oil, herring, black cod (also known as sablefish or butterfish), omega-3 fortified eggs, hemp seeds, flaxseeds (preferably freshly ground), and walnuts;
  • Use extra-virgin olive oil as your main cooking oil. For a neutral-tasting oil, use expeller-pressed-organic canola oil.
  • Include avocados and nuts, especially walnuts, cashews, and almonds.
  • Avoid safflower and sunflower oils, corn oil, cottonseed oil, and mixed vegetable oils. Strictly avoid margarine, vegetable shortening, partially hydrogenated oils and all products listing them as ingredients.

PROTEIN

  • Decrease your consumption of animal protein except for fish.  Especially reduce consumption of beef (including organic.)  Avoid eating burnt meat, fish, or poultry.
  • Eat more vegetable protein, especially from beans and nuts.
  • Enjoy organic soy foods. Tofu, edamame, miso, soy nuts are all minimally processed soy foods and are safe for women who have had breast cancer (and may help prevent breast cancer when eaten during adolescence)
  • NRDC has a list of sushi which are low in mercury and other environmental pollutants.

FIBER

  • Include 1-2 tablespoon of freshly ground flaxseed in your diet daily.  Start slowly if you are new to flaxseed and mix into yogurt, sprinkle on cereal or oatmeal, include in a smoothie.  Evidence suggests that flaxseed can help prevent breast cancer.
  • Eat about 40 grams of fiber a day by increasing your consumption of fruit, especially berries, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Cereals can be good fiber sources but read labels to be sure that flour or sugar are not the predominant ingredients and that they have at least 4-5 grams of fiber per one-ounce serving.

PHYTONUTRIENTS

  • Choose fruits and vegetables from all parts of the color spectrum especially berries, tomatoes, orange and yellow fruits, and dark leafy greens.
  • Choose organic produce whenever possible.  Learn which conventionally grown crops carry the most pesticide residues and avoid them.
  • Eat cruciferous vegetables daily (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale).
  • Enjoy dark chocolate in moderation (minimum cocoa content 70%)
  • Include turmeric and ginger as spices in cooking.

BEVERAGES

  • Get a home water purifier and drink 4 cups of pure water a day or drinks that are mostly water (tea, very diluted fruit juice, sparkling water with lemon).
  • Drink 3-5 cups of green tea daily.
  • Minimize alcohol.

Other recommendations:

  • Avoid potentially toxic environmental chemicals – follow environmental handout instructions.
  • Read labels and avoid products that contain carrageenan. (it is an emulsifier often found in soy milk, ice cream, and other products. Irish Moss is another name for it.)
  • Prolonged nightly fast (not eating for 13 hours at night) reduces risk of recurrence.  For example, this could be done by stopping food at 7 pm and resuming eating at 8 am.