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Foods can promote breast health

September 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Experts say a targeted style of eating will not only benefit your overall health, but specifically your breast health.We've heard of heart smart, but what about breast smart? Nutritionist Jackie Keller says certain foods can promote breast health.

"These are not for the most part unusual foods," said Keller.

The idea behind this 31 day eating plan is to introduce a new breast healthy food into you diet every day for a month nutrition experts say small changes can make a significant difference.

"Eventually they become incorporated into our daily practices and maybe benefit our overall health," said Keller.

Sounds gimmicky, but UCLA's Dr. Mary Hardy say there's science behind it.

"I think we can say there's a lifestyle that's healthy for your breast with the most degree of confidence," said Dr. Hardy.

Begin with the top seven picks. Number one: flax.

"I would definitely do flax. Flax has lingons," said Keller.

"And that turns into a constituent that has very good affects on the breast," said Dr. Hardy.

Second: fish rich in omega three fatty acids. Deep sea varieties like wild salmon, mackerel, and sardines. Third, whole grains.

Spice it up with tumeric. Experts say it's an aromatase inhibitor which lowers estrogen in post-menopausal women. Tumeric also decreases inflammation.

Don't forget red and orange fruits and veggies for vitamin C and red grapes and grape juice are a good source of polyphenols.

"That is a healthy substance and has been associated with a lot of health benefits," said Dr. Hardy.

Close it out with flavanoids found in green tea and tofu. Studies in breast cancer patients show adopting a breast healthy diet with 30 minutes of walking, six days a week can reduce the risk of recurrence 40 percent. Nutritionists say why not give it a try.

"You'd be amazed how quickly you can turn your health around with a little careful attention," said Keller.

While some experts recommend a weekly or even daily glass of red wine to get important antioxidants, Dr. Hardy says a study shows even mild alcohol consumption might increase a woman's breast cancer risk. She says stick to grapes and grapes juice.

Web Extra Information: 31 Days to Better Health

  • Day 1: Look for whole-grain variety of favorite carbohydrates like whole grain bagels, breads, cereals, crackers, and pasta.
  • Day 2: Add beans! Great source of added fiber and important phytonutrients.
  • Day 3: Seaweed and other sea vegetables contain beta-carotene, protein, vitamin B12, fiber, and chlorophyll, as well as chlorophylones - important fatty acids that may help in the fight against breast cancer.
  • Day 4: Check your super market for soy products like tofu and edamame that contains several types of phyto-estrogens. However, as a precaution, women who have breast cancer or are at high risk should talk to their doctors before integrating excessive soy into their diet.
  • Day 5: Eat cruciferous vegetables like broccoli They contain an important indole-3-carbinol that can combat breast cancer. Broccoli, especially sprouts, also have the phytochemical sulforaphane.
  • Day 6: Instead of making ordinary mashed potatoes, mash up sweet potatoes. They contain many cancer-fighting elements, including antioxidant vitamins C and A (which the body converts to beta-carotene) that protects DNA in the cell nucleus from allowing cancer-promoting mutations.
  • Day 7: Make an old childhood favorite ? tapioca. Derived from the cassava plant, it is one of the many plants that manufacture cyanide by producing a chemical called linamarine, a favorable tool that the body uses in it?s cancer-fighting arsenal.
  • Day 8: Season with Turmeric, a member of the ginger family. Some believe it has medicinal properties because it inhibits production of the inflammation-related enzyme (COX-2), which is often found in certain inflammatory diseases and cancers.
  • Day 9: Add turnips to a vegetable soup because they contain cancer fighting compounds.
  • Day 10: Be conscious of the cooking oils you use. Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Canola Oil are great sources of monounsaturated fats that have been linked to preventing breast cancer.
  • Day 11: Anytime is the right time for TEA. According to the July 2001 issue of the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, the polyphenols that are abundant in green tea, red wine and olive oil, may protect against various types of cancer.
  • Day 12: Cook or roast a tomato to enhance lycopene, an antioxidant that attacks free radicals that are suspected of triggering cancer. Tomatoes also have vitamin C, an antioxidant that can prevent cellular damage that leads to cancer.
  • Day 13: Going out for sushi? Order the mackerel! High in Vitamins and minerals, this is a great cancer-fighting fish containing 21% or more of the two most important omega-3s (EPA & DHA) than salmon.
  • Day 14: Avocados! Rich in glutathione, avocados are a powerful antioxidant that attacks free radicals in the body by blocking intestinal absorption of certain fats. They also supply even more potassium than bananas and are a good source of beta-carotene.
  • Day 15: Create a new favorite chicken dish with rosemary, which may help increase the activity of detoxification enzymes. An extract of rosemary, termed carnosol, has inhibited the development of both breast and skin tumors in animals. It can also be consumed as a tea: Use 1 tsp. dried leaves per cup of hot water; steep for 15 minutes.
  • Day 16: They aren?t just good for your eyesight! Carrots contain tons of vitamin A (which the body converts to beta-carotene), which may help reduce a wide range of cancers including lung, mouth, throat, stomach, intestine, bladder, prostate and breast.
  • Day 17: Chili peppers and jalapenos contain a chemical, capsaicin, which may neutralize certain cancer-causing substances (nitrosamines) and may help prevent cancers such as stomach cancer.
  • Day 18: Spinach and other cruciferous vegetables ( broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage) contain two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin that may help decrease prostate and other cancers.
  • Day 19: It only takes a few?figs, as they contain vitamins A and C, and calcium, magnesium and potassium, which may curtail appetite and improve weight-loss efforts. Fig juice is also a potent bacteria killer in test-tube studies.
  • Day 20: Start your morning off by sprinkling Flax over cereal. It contains lignans, which may have an antioxidant effect and block or suppress cancerous changes is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to protect against colon cancer and heart disease.
  • Day 21: Dice it, slice it or mince it and eat garlic! It has immune-enhancing allium compounds (dialyl sulfides) that appear to increase the activity of immune cells that fight cancer and indirectly help break down cancer causing substances.
  • Day 22: Make yourself some homemade juice! Fresh oranges and other citrus fruits, contain monoterpenes, believed to help prevent cancer by sweeping carcinogens out of the body. Some studies show that grapefruit may inhibit the proliferation of breast-cancer cells in vitro. They also contain vitamin C, beta-carotene, and folic acid.
  • Day 23: Need an afternoon snack? Eat red grapes that contain bioflavonoids, powerful antioxidants that work as cancer preventives.
  • Day 24: Cook up some crunchy kale. This vegetable contains compounds, which may help, stop the conversion of certain lesions to cancerous cells in some tissues. In addition, isothiocyanates, phytochemicals found in kale, are thought to suppress tumor growth and block cancer-causing substances from reaching their targets.
  • Day 25: Instead of your usual cereal, have a bowl of Oat Bran. Oat bran contains insoluble fiber that absorbs excess estrogen and helps carry it out of the body. Oat Bran is a great way to start of your day.
  • Day 26: Eat anything and everything that contains mushrooms. There are a number of mushrooms that appear to help the body fight cancer and build the immune system - Shiitake, maitake, reishi, Agaricus blazei Murill, and Coriolus Versicolor. They also have a protein called lectin, which attacks cancerous cells and prevents them from multiplying.
  • Day 27: Nuts are a great pick me-up, anytime snack! Containing the antioxidants quercetin and campferol that may suppress the growth of cancers, Brazil nuts contain 80 micrograms of selenium, which is important for those with prostate cancer
  • Day 28: Healthy starter - Eat half a grapefruit for vitamin C, beta-carotene, and folic acid. Believed to help prevent cancer by sweeping carcinogens out of the body, some studies show that grapefruit may inhibit the proliferation of breast-cancer cells in vitro.
  • Day 29: Grab a papaya that has vitamin C that works as an antioxidant and may also reduce absorption of cancer-causing nitrosamines from the soil or processed foods. Papaya contains folacin (also known as folic acid), which has been shown to minimize cervical dysplasia and prevent neural tube defects.
  • Day 30: Top everything off with berries! Raspberries contain many vitamins, minerals, plant compounds and antioxidants known as anthocyanins that may protect against cancer. Research reported in the journal Nutrition and Cancer in May 2002 shows black raspberries may also thwart colon cancer. Black raspberries are rich in antioxidants, thought to have even more cancer-preventing properties than blueberries and strawberries.
  • Day 31: Good work treat yourself to a glass of red wine! Even without alcohol, has polyphenols that may protect against various types of cancer. Polyphenols are potent antioxidants; compounds that help neutralize disease-causing free radicals.

 

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