How to Eat to Prevent Breast Cancer

How to Eat to Prevent Breast Cancer

The truth is, we are miles away from any guaranteed protection against
breast cancer. But, at this point, we can look at improving our odds by including (and avoiding) certain foods and nutrients in our diet. The groundbreaking report from the American Institute of Cancer Research (Food, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Cancer: a global perspective, 1997) noted which foods, based on research results thus far, probably or possibly decreased breast cancer risk and which foods/components probably or possibly increased risk. You'll find many of their conclusions in the 10 Steps below.

Things You'll Need
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Carotenoid-rich food
  • Fiber
  • Monounsaturated fats


1. Enjoy more fruits. They contribute powerful antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber.

2. Enjoy more vegetables. They contribute other powerful antioxidants, phytochemicals and they also contribute fiber.

3. Work a Carotenoid-rich food into your day (cantaloupe, mango, beet greens, butternut squash, chili peppers, dandelion greens, dock/sorrel greens, hubbard squash, kale, mustard greens, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato, swiis chard, turnip greens, winter squash, and yams).

4. Eat more fiber, especially from whole grains. Phytochemicals found in whole grains have been found to reduce risk of breast and colon cancers in animal studies.

5. Keep fat, saturated fat, and animal fat moderate. Researchers are still trying to figure out if and how the amount of fat (as well as the types of fat) in our food changes our risk for breast cancer. Results from animal studies have suggested the possibility that the amount and type of fat we eat could encourage or discourage certain breast tumors.

6. Switch to monounsaturated fats. Research has been showing that monounsaturated oils, such as olive and canola oil, do not have many cancer-promoting effects (Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 97:16, 1997).

7. Drink little or no alcohol. At least 50 studies show that alcohol may play a role in breast cancer risk.

8. Emphasize variety in food choices. Eating various foods will give many different nutrients and helpful phytochemicals.

9. Try to keep extra weight off as you age. A Harvard University study showed that women who gained 44 to 55 pounds after age 18 had almost double the risk of developing breast cancer following menopause, compared with women who had gained only a few pounds.

10. Get bitten by the fitness bug! (or)

11. Try to exercise at least 4 hours a week--even if it is just walking. Some studies have found a reduced risk of breast cancer among women who exercise regularly or who were athletic as adolescents.