Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer and also the deadliest. The World Health Organization predicts that by 2020 the number of breast cancer cases will be much higher than it is today.
In fact, it is believed that in the coming few years, one in every eight women will be at risk of developing breast cancer in her lifetime. This figure has also been estimated by the Indian Council of Medical Research.
Breast cancer is a complex disease and many factors contribute to it, such as genetics along with lifestyle and dietary factors.
However, you can reduce your risk of getting breast cancer with healthy habits such as limiting alcohol consumption, avoiding smoking, controlling your weight, avoiding exposure to radiation and environmental pollution, limiting the duration of hormone therapy, staying physically active and having regular medical checkups. Breast feeding also is known to lower a woman’s risk for breast cancer.
A healthy diet can also reduce the risk of breast cancer to a great extent. Certain foods can help fight malignant cancer cells at the onset and thus help in preventing breast cancer.
Here are the top 10 superfoods to prevent breast cancer.
Turmeric contains a compound known as curcumin that can inhibit various types of cancer cells, such as breast, gastrointestinal, lung and skin cancer.
Studies have found that it can help greatly in fighting and also slowing the spread of breast cancer due to its potent cell protectant, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It may also enhance the cancer’s sensitivity to conventional chemotherapy.
You can enjoy the protective benefits of curcumin by just adding a little turmeric powder to your foods or eating a pinch of raw turmeric with water every morning on an empty stomach. You can also boil one tablespoon of turmeric powder in a quart of water for 10 minutes and then drink it.
Note: Turmeric may not be suitable for those taking blood thinners or having gallbladder problems. So, do consult your doctor before taking this spice as a medicine.
Salmon is an oily fish that contains a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids that slow the growth of cancerous tumors and boost the immune system. At the same time, salmon is a lean protein and a good source of vitamins B12 and D. All these elements provide your body with the nutrients required to regulate cell growth and prevent cancer.
You can eat salmon steamed, baked or grilled. For best results, eat three-ounce servings of fresh salmon two times a week. Along with salmon, other oily fishes that help prevent breast cancer are mackerel, sardines, trout, sea bass and tuna.
A study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism indicates that a diet rich in tomatoes may help protect postmenopausal women from breast cancer.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that can prevent the development of breast cancer by stopping cancer cell growth. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, lycopene also stops tumor growth by interfering with abnormal cell growth.
Lycopene is also beneficial in stopping other types of cancer cells from growing, including those involved in lung and endometrial cancer.
To enjoy the benefits, you can eat cooked, concentrated or processed tomatoes. However, the best option is to drink a half glass of tomato juice daily.
Studies have found that the sulfur compounds, flavones and flavonols present in garlic help in preventing breast cancer. It is also effective in killing cancer cells associated with breast, mouth, stomach and colon cancer.
To get the most benefits, peel and chop the garlic cloves and let them sit for about 15 minutes before cooking. You can also crush and swallow a piece of garlic every morning to increase your chance of living a cancer-free life.
Note: People on blood thinners and certain other medications should talk with their doctor before taking garlic supplements.
Flaxseed contains high levels of lignans that protect against estrogen-dependent cancers like breast cancer. Flaxseed and flaxseed oil are among the few sources of the essential omega-3 fatty acid ALA, which forms a protective shield against cancer cells responsible for breast cancer.
You can add powdered flaxseed to yogurt or a smoothie to create a richer and nutty flavor. You can also add flaxseed oil to salad dressings or integrate it into baked goods, such as cookies or muffins.
Spinach contains the antioxidant lutein that plays a key role in guarding against breast cancer along with mouth, esophagus and stomach cancer. It is also rich in zeaxanthin and carotenoids that remove unstable molecules called free radicals from your body before they cause damage.
Women must eat spinach a few times a week in order to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Spinach can be enjoyed in salads, soups, steamed or sautéed. Along with spinach, eat other green leafy vegetables like kale, collard greens, Swiss chard and romaine lettuce.
Broccoli contains cancer-fighting compounds known as indole-3-carbinol that help alter estrogen metabolism and suppress breast tumor cell growth. They also protect against hormone-dependent cancers such as breast, cervix, and prostate cancer.
Eating one-half cup of broccoli daily can help protect against breast cancer. Raw broccoli supplies more health benefits than cooked broccoli. Along with broccoli, try to include other cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, kale and cauliflower in your diet.
Blueberries are power-packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can aid in breast cancer prevention. The phytochemicals present in blueberries work together to prevent the growth and spread of various forms of breast cancer.
Blueberries are also rich in antioxidants like ellagic acid which have anti-cancer properties.
To reap the most benefits from blueberries, eat them fresh instead of the packaged versions. Along with blueberries, other berries that can prevent breast cancer are strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and cranberries.
US researchers have found that pomegranate contains natural compounds like urolithin B that suppress estrogen prevent the growth of hormone-responsive breast cancer tumors.
Plus, it is packed with polyphenols like ellagic acid with antioxidant properties that reduce the effect of estrogen in promoting the growth of breast cancer.
Pomegranate makes a delicious and healthy addition to any fruit salad and many fruit desserts. You can include pomegranate in any breast cancer prevention diet, in either fruit or juice form. It is believed that the juice has a higher concentration of antioxidants than the fruit.
Walnuts contain many helpful nutrients which help your body fight inflammation and actually slow down the growth of breast cancer tumors.
Marshall University researchers suggest that eating about two ounces of walnuts a day may help change the activity of multiple genes that contribute to breast cancer, thereby reducing the risk of breast cancer.
In addition to including these superfoods in your diet, it is also recommended to get regular medical checkups.