Bone Health And Vitamin D
It’s important for women of all ages to consume adequate amounts of calcium and Vitamin D to maintain bone health and this may be even more crucial for postmenopausal women due to their increased risk of osteoporosis. Vitamin D has promising health benefits alone.
Healthy levels of these nutrients can be achieved by:
- Consuming low-fat dairy products, fortified soymilk, oily fish , and eggs
- Receiving 10-15 minutes of direct sunlight daily in addition to a calcium supplement of 1000-1200mg with up to 2,000 IUs total of Vitamin D3 daily. Take these together at your largest meals for increased absorption.
Because Vitamin D deficiency is common and may increase the risk of cancer you may want to ask your doctor to check your blood level where 35-40 ng/mL is considered an optimal level.
This Easy Shopping List Could Fight Cancer
Can you help prevent breast cancer through a healthy diet? Making good choices at the grocery store isn’t a magic bullet, but research suggests it may help. In fact, an article published in the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2015 Education Book estimated that changes to eating and exercise habits could prevent 25 to 30 percent of cases of breast cancer. And while theres no official consensus yet on the specific foods a cancer-prevention diet should include or how much of those foods you should eat diets full of whole grains, fiber, and fruits and vegetables have been linked to reduced risk.
More and more research is being done to figure out just what it is in these foods that prevents or slows the growth of the disease. It may be, for example, that antioxidants and compounds called phytochemicals in plants have protective powers against the cell damage that can lead to breast cancer. Some solid evidence points to carotenoids, otherwise known as the pigments that give carrots, tomatoes, and cantaloupe their bright red and orange colors, as being beneficial. Chemicals in cruciferous vegetables think crunchy, fiber-filled broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage may also help.
Whats agreed on by researchers so far is that obesity can be a risk for breast cancer, as can a sedentary lifestyle. Alcohol consumption should be limited, too: In more than 100 studies, excessive drinking has been consistently associated with an increased risk.
Nutrition For Breast Cancer Prevention
Changing your relationship to food and eating involves a major shift in thinking, feeling and doing. The goal of this shift is to create a lifestyle change, not to temporarily lose weight on a diet.
Choosing, making and eating food with an “Abundance Model” includes the pleasures of delicious choices, many tastes, ample portions, not feeling limited, not counting calories and eating when hungry.
This is in contrast to the more common “Deprivation Model” where rules of “do not” and “should not” leave us feeling bad or guilty with unmet hunger and cravings. Cycles of stress and depression-related eating are common with this model. A shift from “I can’t eat without feeling bad and guilty” to “I enjoy an abundance of healthy, delicious food” often results in a better-nourished and healthier self.
1. Lower dietary fat to between 10% to 20% of calories
Low or nonfat foods
2. Eat more plant-based protein andeat less animal-based protein
More beans and soyLess turkey and lean meats
3. Minimum daily servings of:Grains: 6 per dayVegetables: 3 5 per dayFruits: 2 4 per dayBeans: 1 2 per daySoy: 1 2 per day
4. Drink 8 to 10 eight ounce glasses of water a day
Carry a water bottle
5. Limit caffeine to no more than 1 to 2 cups a day
6. Drink alcohol in moderation
No more than 3 servings per week
7. Limit nitrates and cured foods
8. Decrease food additives
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Eating Guidelines During Endocrine Therapy
Hormone treatments include tamoxifen, leuprolide , and aromatase inhibitors such as anastrozole , exemestane , and letrozole . These may be used for short or long periods of time. If youre getting hormone therapy, review the following guidelines.
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can interact with many medications. Avoid eating grapefruit and drinking grapefruit juice if youre taking tamoxifen.
Certain dietary supplements can interact with tamoxifen and other hormone treatments. Always check with your healthcare provider or clinical dietitian nutritionist before starting any dietary supplements.
Managing your body weight
For some people, hormone therapy can make it harder to stay at a healthy body weight. Read the section Staying a Healthy Weight for more information on managing your weight and for tips to improve your diet.
Diet and hot flashes
A hot flash is a feeling of intense heat that isnt caused by an outside source. Hot flashes are a problem for some people during menopause. They can also be a problem for people getting treatment for breast cancer. Hot flashes can be different for everyone. They may last for different lengths of time and may come and go.
Staying at a healthy weight or losing weight if youre overweight may help with hot flashes.
A stressful or warm environment can start a hot flash. Some foods and drinks can also start hot flashes or make them worse.
- Caffeinated drinks
- Spicy foods
- Hot drinks
The 12 Best Foods For Breast Health
Here are the top 12 foods for breast health to help tip the odds in your favor:
1) Blueberries, peaches, and nectarines all have high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols that may help annihilate cancer cells while leaving healthy cells untouched. Research suggests having two servings per week of berries and two servings per week of peaches or nectarines helps support breast health. 10 Dont just stop there, though. Eat a rainbow of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables for their protective polyphenols, such as carotenoids.
2) Pomegranates are another promising food for breast health due to their high ellagitannin content, which may inhibit activity of aromatase and cancer cell growth. 11,12,13
3) Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables high in sulforaphane, like cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale, collards, mustard greens, and watercress, may help reduce the spread and recurrence of breast cancer stem cells, according to research from the University of Michigan. 14,15,16 These veggies also contain another phenol called indole-3-carbinol , which helps support healthy estrogen metabolism and helps maintain an optimal balance of estrogens, which are more than just one hormone.
4) Celery, parsley, thyme, onions, and oranges all provide appreciable amounts of the phenol apigenin, which may boost resistance to cancerous tumors and is also a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. 17,18,19
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Basic Facts About Breast Health:
UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.
Green Tea Can Soothe Your Mind And Protect Your Cells
Green tea and white tea both contain catechins, chemicals that seem to show some benefit in breast cancer prevention. Research published in August 2016 in the journal Nutrients suggests that green tea may be effective at slowing tumor growth and influencing other biological processes that contribute to breast cancer. But, says Marian, you might have to drink a lot of tea four or more cups a day to achieve this effect.
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Peaches Apples And Pears
Fruits specifically peaches, apples, and pears have been shown to safeguard against breast cancer.
In a study in 75,929 women, those who consumed at least 2 servings of peaches per week had up to a 41% reduced risk of developing ER breast cancer .
Interestingly, a test-tube study revealed that polyphenol antioxidants from peaches inhibited the growth and spread of a breast cancer cell line .
Furthermore, a study analyzing data from 272,098 women linked apple and pear intake to a lower risk of breast cancer ” rel=”nofollow”> Share on Pinterest
Beans are loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Specifically, their high fiber content may protect against breast cancer.
A study in 2,571 women found that high bean intake reduced breast cancer risk by up to 20%, compared with low bean intake .
Additionally, in a study in 1,260 Nigerian women, those with the highest intake of beans had up to a 28% reduced risk of breast cancer, compared with those with the lowest intake .
Are Coffee Or Other Drinks With Caffeine Okay To Drink
Its fine for most people to drink moderate amounts of coffee or other caffeinated drinks . Some research suggests that there are possible health benefits linked to drinking moderate amounts of coffee. Avoid or limit sweetened beverages with added caffeine and avoid alcoholic beverages with added caffeine. Also, keep in mind that drinks such as flavored lattes can have a lot of calories and sugar.
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Eating A Healthy Diet
Most research on possible links between diet and the risk of breast cancer coming back has looked at broad dietary patterns, rather than specific foods. In general, its not clear if eating any specific type of diet can help lower your risk of breast cancer coming back. Studies have found that breast cancer survivors who eat diets high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, chicken, and fish tend to live longer than those who eat diets that have more refined sugars, fats, red meats , and processed meats . But its not clear if this is due to effects on breast cancer or possibly to other health benefits of eating a healthy diet.
Two large studies have looked at the effects of lowering fat intake after being diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. One study found that women on a low-fat diet had a small reduction in the risk of cancer coming back, but these women had also lost weight as a result of their diet, which might have affected the results. The other study did not find a link between a diet low in fat and the risk of cancer coming back.
While the links between specific types of diets and breast cancer coming back are not certain, there are clearly health benefits to eating well. For example, diets that are rich in plant sources are often an important part of getting to and staying at a healthy weight. Eating a healthy diet can also help lower your risk for some other common health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Pomegranates May Pack A Powerful Juicy Punch
More investigation needs to be done on the role of pomegranates, but research, such as a study published in June 2015 in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, has suggested that the fruit contains a compound that might help fight cancers growth especially estrogen-dependent cancers.
Pomegranates make a delicious and healthy addition to any breast cancer management plan or breast cancer prevention diet, whether in fruit or juice form. Adding them to your grocery list could benefit others in your family, too they may also help fight heart disease and prostate cancer. Still, the juice may interact with cholesterol-lowering drugs, so ask your doctor about the risks.
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Whats The Relationship Between Red Meat Processed Meat And Cancer
Research by the American Institute for Cancer Research shows that eating more than 18 ounces of red meat per week increases your risk of getting colorectal cancer . Beef, lamb and pork are all red meats. Eating any amount of processed meat regularly can also increase your risk of getting both stomach and colorectal cancers. Processed meats are meats that are preserved by smoking, salting, curing, or adding other preservatives. Examples of processed meats include sliced turkey and bologna deli meats, bacon, ham, and hot dogs.
Turmeric Puts Up A Fight Against Inflammation
The spice that gives curry its beautiful yellow color contains a chemical called curcumin. The research on this compound is inconclusive, but lab studies have shown that curcumin supplements could play a role in helping fight breast cancer tumors when combined with certain drug-based therapy.
On the other hand, some research suggests it might interfere with chemotherapy, so be sure to talk to your doctor before incorporating it into your diet during treatment.
It also may have an anti-inflammatory effect that could protect your overall health. You’ll need supplements to get enough curcumin, but putting a veggie curry full of broccoli, onions, and garlic on your breast cancer prevention menu could help make your anti-cancer nutrition plan more fun.
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After Treatment Maintain A Healthy Weight
Obese women have higher levels of estrogen circulating in their bodies than women who are in their ideal body weight range.
Many studies including a study conducted by researchers from the Iranian Institute for Health Sciences Research in Tehran, Iran, have demonstrated an association between body mass size and breast cancer in post-menopausal women.
If youre overweight, Taylor recommends losing weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise once youve finished treatment. Weight loss during treatment isnt typically encouraged, as this is often associated with undesired muscle loss, leading to fatigue, a suppressed immune system and a slower healing process.
Allow your body the nutrients it needs to fight cancer, she says. Once your treatment is done, consider meeting with a dietitian for individualized recommendations to decrease recurrence risk and support a healthy weight.
How Do I Make The Best Food Choices Throughout Cancer Treatment
When you are faced with a breast cancer diagnosis, nutrition can be an important part of your journey. Eating a well-balanced diet before, during, and after cancer treatment can help you feel better, maintain your strength, and speed your recovery.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Depending on what breast cancer treatment you undergo, you may experience weight gain or weight loss. Aim to maintain a healthy weight during treatment, avoiding excess gain or loss. Strict dieting during treatment is not recommended. Many breast cancer patients gain weight as a result of treatment as well.
- Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. Eating frequent small meals will ensure your body is getting enough calories, protein, and nutrients to tolerate treatment. Smaller meals may also help to reduce treatment-related side effects such as nausea. Try eating 5- 6 small meals or mini meals about every three hours.
- Choose protein-rich foods. Protein helps the body to repair cells and tissue. It also helps your immune system recover from illness. Include a source of lean protein at all meals and snacks. Good sources of lean protein include:
- Lean meats such as chicken, fish, or turkey
- Soy foods
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Breast Cancer Food Guide
There is no specific diet that is recommended for people with breast cancer. Your nutrient needs may vary depending on many factors that include other medical diagnoses, your body weight, nutrient deficiencies, medications, and any symptoms that youre currently experiencing.
Your healthcare team, including a registered dietitian who specializes in oncology nutrition, can help you come up with an appropriate eating plan specific to your needs and overall health. The following foods are based on general recommendations to maintain overall health while living with breast cancer:
- whole, nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, protein sources like chicken and turkey, fatty fish like trout or salmon, and plant-based proteins sources like lentils and nuts
- foods high in healthy fats and protein. If you need to maintain or gain weight, incorporate sources of healthy fat like nuts and seeds, avocados, and olive oil as well as protein sources like eggs, chicken, lentils, and fish. Protein-rich foods are especially important for maintaining muscle mass.
- blended liquids such as milkshakes, smoothies, juices, or soups for those times when you dont feel like eating solid foods
- high fiber foods like whole grains, flax seeds, legumes, vegetables and fruits to treat constipation
Diet And Breast Cancer
What about diet? Can what you eat affect your risk of breast cancer? Indeed. In fact, women may be able to cut their risk of breast cancer by up to two-thirds by loading up on good nutrition while managing their weight. Yet, there is a lot of confusion about the best way to do so. For example, many people have cut down on fat to decrease their risk, but a recent meta-analysis has found no association between breast cancer and fat consumption. 2
Its long been thought that increasing the consumption of soy products can reduce the risk of breast cancer. However, this appears to apply to Asian women but not to Western populations. 3
In contrast, there is growing evidence that consuming higher amounts of vegetables and fruits may reduce the risk largely due to the increased consumption of carotenoids. 4-9 Calcium-rich diets also appear to positively influence the risk of breast cancer. 5
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What Is A Healthy Diet
Eating healthily is important for everyone, but when youve had breast cancer you may become even more aware of what you eat and drink. A balanced diet has been shown to have a range of health benefits.
However, its important not to feel guilty if you dont stick to a healthy diet all the time especially while youre coping with the other physical and emotional effects of breast cancer and its treatment.