Foods to Eat to Help Women Prevent Breast Cancer   



Foods to Eat to Help Women Prevent Breast Cancer

 
There are several risk factors of developing breast cancer such as:
1. Gender (females have a much higher risk compared to men)

2. Hereditary factor (family history of breast cancer)

3. Race

4. Genetics (certain gene mutations)

5. Age (older woman)

6. Period (female who had their period younger than 12 years old).

ALSO, certain studies have shown that long term use of estrogen through HRT (Hormonal Replacement Therapy, which is a post-menopausal therapy) is said to increase the risk of developing breast cancer. But that does not mean that estrogen alone causes breast cancer.

Even that said, how estrogen causes breast cancer is still not clear (even how the other risk factors mentioned cause breast cancer are yet to be fully understood).

Speaking of estrogen, did you know that men have estrogen in their body too? It is produced in the testes and the brain. But that is not the main point here. Estrogen, most prevalent in females, is necessary to control female body sexual development, regulating period, pregnancy and menopause.

Estrogen can also be made in labs. You can find synthetic estrogen in the form of birth control pills, estrogen used in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and estrogen creams. Some man-made chemicals that mimic the effect of estrogen are harmful. They are xenoestrogen compounds (Xeno = Foreign in Greek language), which are found in plastics products. You can bet that xenoestrogens are in herbicides and pesticides too. These are harmful to our bodies.

So, what can one, especially the fairer-sex, do to prevent the breast cancer? Natural prevention through a healthy diet and lifestyle is the most likely thing a woman should do.

Additionally, try phytoestrogens; which are plant estrogens found in certain vegetables, herbs and spices. Some of the chief phytoestrogen groups are isoflavones, flavones, coumestans and lignans. These plant estrogens are weaker than body’s natural estrogen and can bind to estrogen receptors.

This minimizes breast cell division, lowers abnormally high blood estrogen levels, which might then lower risk of getting breast cancer.

Let’s look at some of the foods for preventing breast cancer:

Watercress

The latest herb that has been getting the attention is watercress (Nasturtium microphyllum), commonly eaten as vegetable. Used for asthma by the Chinese, watercress may reduce breast cancer risk.
Watercress boasts potent cancer-fighting isothiocyanates.

Cat’s claw

In 2001, South American herb called Cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa) has been shown to lessen the development of breast cancer cells grown in laboratory. It protects against DNA damage that may lead to cancer.

Cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts and cauliflower are rich in indole-3-carbinol. It blocks estrogen receptor sites in breast cells. This would help in lowering the development of breast cancer risk.
Interestingly, this plant chemical is only formed when the vegetables is crushed or cooked. These vegetables also are rich in lignan, an estrogenlike substance.

Lignan and fiber rich foods

High fibre foods work by binding to estrogen (in the intestinal tract) and 'flushing' estrogen out from the body. A study done by University of Leeds in UK in 2007 found out that pre-menopausal woman who takes 30 g of fiber 30 per day had half their risk of developing breast cancer.

Lignan (a type of fiber) is a kind of estrogen-like substance. It is mostly found in seeds, pulses and beans. Lignan-rich sources include flaxseed (or called as linseed), sesame seed, sunflower seed, whole grains (rye, bran), berries (strawberries), fruits (apricot),

Soy product

The main phytoestrogen found in soy beans and other soya products is isoflavones. Soy products include tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy milk, soy burgers, and soy oil.

Studies have shown a positive correlation between soy consumption and reduced risk of breast cancer.

Omega-3 rich foods Oily and fatty fish like salmon, sardines, trout, mackerel and cod are also known to help prevent breast cancer. They contain high omega-3 fatty acids.

Not a fish fan? Nuts and seeds (especially flax, walnut and pumpkin) are also rich in omega-3. Research showed that women that consume higher omega-3 have lower risks of breast cancer. Consuming flaxseed has also been shown to reduce the size of breast cancer tumor in rats.

However, some study results did not show significant effects in the lowering of breast cancer risk by eating more omega- 3. But do not stop just there yet. Instead, keep on consuming for its other proven beneficial health effects. 

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Happy reading,
Evelyn



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