The question about prevention that always comes up is "can breast cancer really be prevented?" There is no straightforward answer to that question. However, if by "prevention" you understand "lowering your risk" then, yes, breast cancer can be prevented. True, there are risk factors linked to breast cancer that are out of our control, such as gender, aging, genetics, family history, race and ethnicity, breast tissue density, and frequency of menstrual periods.
This doesn't change the fact that we do have modifiable risk factors. Our diet is a big one. After reviewing all current epidemiological and clinical trials relating diet to breast cancer, the journal Nutrition in Clinical Practice stated that diet is "modestly associated with breast cancer risk." Modestly. To some, the word "modestly" may sound weak. It's easy to get side-tracked by wording. What "modestly" implies, however, is that we have a pretty good chance of making a difference through diet. It implies that adjusting our diet to lower the risk of breast cancer is worth the effort. It implies that diet has a moderate ability to work against all the aformentioned, uncontrollable risk factors for breast cancer. Interestingly, that same review concluded that diet has the greatest influence on breast cancer survivors overall mortality.
High Glycemic Load: An Italian study found that a high glycemic load diet is linked to higher breast cancer risk. A high glyemic load diet includes foods and portion sizes that cause blood glucose levels to spike and that demands more insulin. To avoid a high glycemic load diet, replace sugary and starchy foods and juices with whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, and nonstarchy vegetables.
Omega-3 to Omega-6 Ratio: This is a great example of how diet can work against uncontrollable risk factors, such as genetics. A diet high in omega-6 fatty acids is postively associated with breast cancer risk. A study (published in the journal Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention) compared the effects of diet on women with a high-risk genetic profile. The women who supplied their bodies with too much omega-6 fatty acids had a significantly increased breast cancer risk. Women with the same high-risk genetic profile but a diet lower omega-6 fatty acids had no significant effect on their breast cancer risk.
Omega-3 fatty acids have anticancer properties that work wonders such as inhibiting tumor growth and lowering inflammation related to cancer. Their effects are significant. Numerous researchers agree. However, the ratio of o-3's to o-6's is crucial. A high omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is a great strategy to lower breast cancer risk. If the o-6 levels are too high, they will choke out the beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids.
Probiotics: When we think probiotics, we usually think of gut problems or intestinal disorders. Can probiotics and fermented products effect breast cancer risk though? The journal Nutrition and Cancer found that the presence of five common strains of bacteria in fermented products (Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium animalis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus paracasei) exhibited antitumor activity.
Organic Food, especially Fruits & Vegetables:
Let's say you've made a concentrated effort to limit your intake of omega-6 fats and increase intake of omega-3's. Is that enough? According to a meta-analysis published in BMC Medicine, no. There are several factors unrelated to your consumption of o-3's and o-6's that can influence their levels in your body. For example, a diet rich in polyphenols and organic foods can increase the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats, which in turn can decrease breast cancer risk.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables will increase levels of antioxidants in your blood. One important antioxidant is a plant pigment polyphenol found in purple and blue fruits, such as blueberries, plums, and grapes. These polyphenol flavonoids can increase omega-3 levels by 30% without effect omega-6 levels. This can automatically boost your o-3 to o-6 ratio.
If you put forth an extra effort to find high-quality, organic foods, your efforts are not in vain. Organic plant foods have higher polyphenolic content than conventional food supplies. Organic animal foods also have a higher o-3 to o-6 ratio than conventional foods. This is often due to the higher polyphenolic content of organic-fed animal feed.
New insights in breast cancer research are on the rise. In the meantime, it's important to apply what we already know. The fundamentals are crucial - a whole foods, blood sugar-stabilizing, antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory diet. EnergyFirst is dedicated to making a healthy prevention-focused diet possible and practical. Our products, such as the ultra low glycemic ProEnergy Whey Protein products, are designed to help keep your blood sugar levels stable all day long. Our Greenergy Superfood blend is packed with organic, antioxidant-rich ingredients and probiotics.
Your lifestyle is your choice.
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