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Can Your Diet Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer?

October calendar sheet with a pink ribbon on top symbolizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month

As the second most common type of cancer in women, breast cancer will affect approximately 1 in 8 women in the United States at some point in their lives. In light of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there are some healthy eating tips to consider for prevention. Though a nutritious diet doesn’t guarantee perfect health, groups such as the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, and the government’s own Dietary Guidelines for Americans all share the same belief that maintaining healthy behavior and a proper diet will lessen your risk.

Even if you are young and think you don’t need to worry about your health, eating healthy is beneficial and can positively impact your health over the long run.

Authorities agree that a healthy diet includes:

• Making fruits and vegetables part of your daily regimen
Dietary Guidelines for Americans states that by consuming potent cancer fighters such as berries, tomatoes, and other fruit – along with dark-green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables (which include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage), you can reduce your risk for disease.

• Adding fiber to your diet on a daily basis
A daily fiber intake of 10 grams can reduce the risk of colon cancer by 10%. It may include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables – all considered good sources of fiber. If possible, women should try for a minimum daily intake of 25 grams, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

• Avoiding red meat as much as possible
This one is exceptionally difficult for meat lovers who regularly enjoy a good steak. The problem is – beef, pork, and lamb are known to be linked to a variety of cancers, including the colon, prostate, pancreas, and kidney.

• Eating more fish
There’s a good reason to consume fish regularly as part of a balanced diet. Fish, especially those low in saturated fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, Atlantic mackerel, Arctic char, and sardines are known to be helpful in reducing inflammation, which has been linked to cancer.

• Staying away from trans fats
Used primarily in baked goods and deep-fried foods, trans fatty acids have been associated with increased risk of prostate and invasive breast cancers. Avoid buying anything that contains partially hydrogenated oil, another name for trans fats, on the ingredients label.

• Drinking green tea – hot or cold
As a beverage, green tea has outstanding benefits as a cancer fighter. It contains something known as catechins – which are defined as antioxidants in a class of compounds called polyphenols. These compounds may actually protect your cells from DNA damage, while strengthening the immune system, and can activate enzymes that have been found to curb tumors.

• Limiting your alcohol consumption
Although red wine has been determined to have some health benefits, alcohol in excess can have an opposite effect. It can increase the risk factor for oral cancers, including cancers of the esophagus, as well as cancer of the liver, colon, and breast; and may also be related to raising the possibility of pancreatic cancer. According to researchers, women should have no more than one drink daily, while men should limit their intake to no more than two.

• Getting enough Vitamin D naturally or with supplements
Scientific tests have shown that higher blood levels of vitamin D are credited for lower rates of colon, breast, ovarian, renal, pancreatic, and prostate cancers. Next time you visit your doctor, have your blood level tested. And, if your levels are low, discuss supplement options with him.

As the old saying goes – “prevention is the best medicine” – and, doing your share by maintaining a healthy diet and getting regularly scheduled mammograms can go a long way to early detection and treatment. After all, while breast cancer is not completely preventable, you can do a lot on your own to help reduce your chances of contracting cancer by making changes in your life and personal environment that can greatly contribute to better health for you and your family.

There is also a lot you can do about getting health coverage. Open enrollment 2016 begins November 1, 2015 and ends January 31, 2016. You don’t want to be without proper coverage or you could be subject to a penalty for not having health insurance. Why not get a free health insurance quote today?

Do you believe a healthy diet can reduce the risk of breast cancer? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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