Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer with a Vegan Diet!
To reduce your risk of breast cancer, the American Institute for Cancer Research recommends that you reduce your intake of red meats and processed foods and up your intake of plant based foods, making a vegan or even a vegetarian diet a powerful weapon in the fight to reduce the chances of breast cancer for our children and ourselves.
Vegetarian and vegan diets are filled with a variety of plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans, which strong evidence has shown help lower the risk for breast cancer and many other cancers as well. Even the American Institute for Cancer Research suggests filling 2/3 of your plate with vegetables, fruit, whole grains and beans.While adding certain foods to your diet can help keep cancer away, to entirely benefit from the food’s cancer fighting properties, one should also watch their entire diet.
Here are a few of the AICR’s list of foods that will increase your chances of staying breast cancer free!
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables:
Spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens, chicory and Swiss chard are excellent sources of fiber, folate and a wide range of carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, along with saponins and flavonoids.
According to AICR’s second expert report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective, foods containing carotenoids probably protect against cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx.
Researchers believe that carotenoids seem to prevent cancer by acting as antioxidants – that is, scouring potentially dangerous “free radicals” from the body before they can do harm. Some laboratory research has found that the carotenoids in dark green leafy vegetables can inhibit the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells, skin cancer cells, lung cancer and stomach cancer.
The Second Expert Report also noted probable evidence that foods containing folate decrease risk of pancreatic cancer and that foods containing dietary fiber probably reduce one’s chances of developing colorectal cancer.
One apple provides at least 10 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C and fiber. Dietary fiber can act in several ways to lower cancer risk, including helping with weight control. (Excess body fat increases the risk of seven different cancers, and dietary fiber can increase the feeling of fullness.) Gut bacteria can use pectin, a major portion of apples’ dietary fiber, to produce compounds that protect colon cells.
Apples also contain a variety of phytochemicals that scientists are studying for their anti-cancer effects. The peel of the apple contains a third or more of its phytochemical compounds. About 80 percent of quercetin, for example, is located in the peel.
The term “whole grain” means that all three parts of the grain kernel (germ, bran and endosperm) are included. Refined grains usually have the bran and germ removed, leaving only the starchy endosperm. Brown rice is a whole grain, white rice is not. Other whole-grain foods include wheat breads, rolls, pasta and cereals; whole grain oat cereals such as oatmeal, popcorn, wild rice, tortilla and tortilla chips, corn, kasha (roasted buckwheat) and tabouleh (bulghur wheat).
Whole grains are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and hundreds of natural plant compounds, called phytochemicals, which protect cells from the types of damage that may lead to cancer. In addition research points to specific substances in whole grains that have been linked to lower cancer risk, including antioxidants, phenols, lignans (which is a kind of phytoestrogen) and saponins.
AICR’s second expert report, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective, found probable evidence that foods containing dietary fiber, like whole grains, can decrease one’s risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Moreover, limiting energy dense foods and eating a predominantly plant-based diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans can help with weight maintenance and, in turn, may decrease your risk of developing cancer.
Dry Beans and Peas (Legumes):
There are several ways in which legumes may act to prevent cancer.
A serving of legumes provide at least 20 percent of the recommended daily amount of folate and fiber. Dietary fiber can act in several ways to lower cancer risk, including helping with weight control. (Excess body fat increases the risk of seven cancers.) Gut bacteria feed on fiber, which produces compounds that may protect colon cells. And folate is essential for healthy DNA and maintaining control of cell growth.
Dry beans, split peas and other legumes also contain a variety of phytochemicals that scientists are studying for their anti-cancer effects.