Improving Breast Health with Diet and Lifestyle


October is breast cancer awareness month. Are there natural ways to reduce risk? Over 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. 75% of all cases occur in women over 40; post-menopausal women are at the highest risk. If you’re very overweight, your risk rises because fat cells are storage depots for estrogens, pesticides, and chemical toxins.

It’s critical to limit your exposure to man-made estrogens. Taking long-term hormone replacement drugs raises breast cancer risk. One study shows women taking HRT for five years have a 40% greater risk of developing breast cancer. Another study finds that long-term HRT may boost the odds of one of the most dangerous types of breast cancer as much as 85 percent! Further, your dietary choices can help fortify your body against cancer development.

Breast Health Program

Did you know that 40 to 60 % of cancer risk is determined by diet choices? Start by reducing your animal fat intake. Fat stores chemical toxins and environmental estrogens linked to increased breast cancer risk. Saturated fats from meats and dairy foods, and trans fatty acids from fried foods are particularly suspect.  Note: Even though it is a good idea to reduce your meat intake, fish is fine. Salmon is especially beneficial.

Include cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, 3-4 times a week. Crucifers are high in indole 3 carbinole, which helps flush out excess estrogen. They are powerful antioxidants to fight free radical damage in the body linked to premature aging and degenerative disease.

Seaweeds are a source of natural iodine that balances thyroid activity. Thyroid antibodies are often found in women with breast cancer. The relationship needs to be investigated, but eating iodine rich seaweed could be a helpful cancer deterrent. Further, seaweeds are excellent detoxifiers of chemical toxins involved in malignant disease. Two tbsp. daily of dried seaweeds are a therapeutic dose; or take a seaweed capsule formula.

Fermented soy foods like tofu and miso have anti cancer benefits. Research suggests that the low rate of breast cancer among Japanese women may be due to the protective effects of a diet enriched with soy food. Include fermented soy foods in your diet 3 times a week.

Diet can make a huge difference in reducing cancer risk. People who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables have half the risk of people who eat few fruits and vegetables. Even small to moderate amounts of fruits and vegetables make a big difference. Two fruits and three vegetable servings a day show amazing anti-cancer results. Exercise is another key for cancer prevention because it increases fat metabolism to help flush out excess estrogens.

To Life-long health, Linda Page, Ph.D., Traditional Naturopath