October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One of the best – and longest – studies with a focus on cancer prevention is the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS). This study has provided information about how to lower the risk of breast cancer through diet.
People can lower their risk of breast cancer by making some relatively easy changes to what they eat.
We all have heard that we should eat more fruits and vegetables. Now there’s more reason to do so; the NHS has found that the compounds that give wonderful colors to fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of breast cancer.
Deep orange vegetables, especially sweet potatoes and carrots, provide substances called carotenes, while deep leafy greens such as kale, spinach and collard greens contain the substances lutein and zeaxanthin. Eating a diet rich in foods that contain these substances may lower risk of breast cancer by 15 to 20 percent.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans supports consuming an abundance of fruits and vegetables. The current recommendation is for adults to consume 2 to 3 cups of vegetables and 1 ½ to 2 cups of fruits daily.
Maintaining a normal body weight is another aspect of reducing your breast cancer risk. Consuming a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables can contribute to a normal weight, so be sure to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
Replacing one cup of a sweetened beverage with one cup of water is another way to lose weight. By implementing this easy change, you will lower your calorie intake. Doing this is easy and can help you maintain a normal body weight and reduce your breast cancer risk.
Learn more about the hospital’s nutrition counseling services.
Jean Daniello is a clinical dietitian at Carroll Hospital Center.