Foods to Eat to Help Women Prevent Breast Cancer
There are several risk factors of developing breast cancer
1. Gender (females have a much higher risk compared to men)
2. Hereditary factor (family history of breast cancer)
4. Genetics (certain gene mutations)
5. Age (older woman)
6. Period (female who had their period younger than 12 years
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
Let’s look at some of the foods for preventing breast cancer:
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.
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 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),
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.