Beat Cancer by Eating Healthy and Living a Healthy Lifestyle

Friday, October 28, 2016

Most of us are aware of how important it is to eat well and live a healthy lifestyle. We know it makes us feel better, have extra energy and enjoy life more. Commonly known is our need to manage our weight in order to lower our risk for heart disease and diabetes. What is less known is the impact our diet has on our risk for cancer, particularly those cancers that are categorized as obesity-related cancers. Woman who are obese, for example, have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, particularly post-menopause. Not only does a healthy diet help prevent breast cancer, it can also improve our survival rate once diagnosed.

Additionally, recent studies indicate that a healthy diet and weight management not only prevent incidence of breast cancer, improve our survival rate once diagnosed, but will also lower the risk of its recurrence. It is amazing to think how much power what we eat and how much we eat can have on our health. Looked at another way, we have the ability to make what we eat a positive tool for our health.

So the question is, beyond eating a balanced diet in right-sized portions, are there foods that are specifically beneficial for those who want to lower their risk of breast cancer? There are. Research shows that eating a plant-based diet and limiting alcohol consumption does reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. There are specific foods that have been shown to have a positive effect, too.

Eating foods rich in carotenoids is an example of a specific category of foods that has been shown to reduce risk of breast cancer recurrence. Carotenoids are the natural pigments found in yellow and orange foods (such as carrots, sweet potatoes and squash) and dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach and Swiss chard.

Many of us are aware that eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to improving heart health yet how many of us are also aware it can improve breast cancer prognosis? Salmon, haddock, cod, halibut and sardines are the best sources for omega-3.

A high-fiber diet is associated with lower overall mortality in breast cancer patients. Beans and whole grains are an ideal source of fiber. You can’t beat a bowl of oatmeal at breakfast for a great source of fiber and to help you feel full through out your morning which helps us with weight management.

Omega-3 fatty acids, high-fiber diets and carotenoids can all help prevent breast cancer.
The more we learn about disease the more it has become apparent that it is primarily linked to what we eat and our overall lifestyle. The good news is we have the power to do something about it. It is possible to eat healthier and live a healthier life. Every time we make one change, like adopting a meatless Monday meal or eating whole grain cereal for breakfast we are significantly reducing our risk for disease. And, as I have found, I really love the foods and variety I have tried because of wanting to be as healthy as I can be. Have to’s can definitely become want to’s…we just have to give ourselves a chance to make that discovery.

And remember, the greatest gift we can give ourselves is the gift of health!

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