Breast cancer is a common form of disease that affects millions of women across the globe. Its causes are rather complex, but hormonal, environmental, and lifestyle factors should all be taken into account. What’s more, certain habits, such as lack of physical activity, a deficient diet, alcohol use, and being overweight, can increase the risk of breast cancer.
Adopting a healthier meal plan and including more nutrient-dense, natural foods in your diet is a crucial step towards disease prevention. Research has indicated that some foods contain several compounds with cancer-fighting properties, and they can be powerful allies against breast cancer. Here’s a list of five such foods for your perusal:
1. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are a fantastic source of nutrients, including vitamins A, B6, and C. They also contain more than 30 carotenoids, which are compounds with well-established anti-cancer effects. Among them, lycopene is of particular interest, as it’s the same cancer-fighting carotenoid found in tomatoes. What’s more, bell peppers are full of flavonoids such as apigenin, a substance that can induce apoptosis (cancer cell death). So, give these bright-colored vegetables a try; they are extremely nutritious and can add flair and flavor to any dish.
2. Green Tea
If you are looking for a healthier alternative to black tea or coffee, look no further. Green tea is a source of nutrients such as vitamin C, chromium, and selenium. Most importantly, it is rich in polyphenols, including catechins, such as EGCE (epigallocatechin-3-gallate). These special substances have been thoroughly studied for their anti-cancer properties. EGCE prevents the rapid reproduction of cancer cells, inhibits tumor invasion, tumor metastasis, and could also prevent the recurrence of cancer in the early stages of the disease. While the research on green tea and breast cancer is ongoing, drinking a hot cup of delicious tea on a cold day is never a bad idea.
Mushrooms are one of nature’s most amazing nutritional gifts. Several delicious fungi are powerhouses of vitamins and minerals such as B complex vitamins, vitamin D, selenium, zinc, manganese, copper, and calcium, among others. Studies also connect mushroom consumption to a lower risk of breast cancer because of their ability to counter aromatase, an enzyme responsible for estrogen production. Mushrooms also contain lectins, chemical compounds that prevent the growth and division of cancerous cells. Some of the best varieties you can try are shitake, button, white, crimini, and portabella mushrooms.
Pomegranates are unique in appearance and flavor. They also boast a very diverse nutritional profile that includes vitamins C, B5, and K, folate, as well as minerals like calcium, copper, potassium, and manganese. Pomegranates are rich in polyphenols and antioxidants, some of which are unique to this fruit. Pomegranates’ special chemical compounds can suppress human breast cancer cells and inhibit certain estrogen-producing mechanisms. Different parts of the pomegranate fruit, including seed oil, juice, fermented juice, and peel extract, have substantial anti-cancer properties. Enjoy the whole fruit when it’s in season, or try some pomegranate juice as part of a healthy breakfast.
Both fresh tomatoes and tomato-based products are essential for cancer prevention because of their unique nutritional content that includes powerful antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Among them, lycopene is of great interest. This carotenoid is responsible for the tomato’s bright red color, but it also protects human cells and all their parts (lipids, lipoproteins, proteins, and DNA) from carcinogenesis (cancer production). Lycopene’s cancer-fighting properties are further enhanced if you combine tomatoes with healthy, fat-rich foods such as olive oil, avocados, or nuts. So, now you have all the ingredients you need for a delicious and incredibly healthy salad.
A diet rich in fresh, nutritious, unprocessed foods prepared by traditional cooking methods can be crucial to breast cancer prevention and recovery. However, before making any drastic changes to your diet, consult your doctor. They can provide you with further information on breast cancer prevention and early detection.