Impact of Nutrition & Lifestyle on Breast Cancer

by Ms. Edwina Raj

The first leading cause of cancer deaths among women and less so among men is breast cancer. According to the evidence, a larger number of risk factors are related to diet & lifestyle (obesity, eating habits, and consumption of alcohol) which trigger the growth of breast tumors.

The incidence of breast cancer and the risk of worsening or recurrence of breast cancer can be minimized by good nutrition:

Make your plate healthy:

  • Fill half of your plate with vegetables, one-quarter of protein sources or as recommended by your dietitian and 25 per cent or less of starchy vegetables or whole grain.

  • Add 1 or 2 fruits as a snack or dessert daily.

  • Dhals, sprouts, beans, unpolished cereals & millets are highly recommended as a plant-based diet.

  • Fats, oils, spices, nuts, oilseeds, dairy to be considered in your plan

Reach out to healthy fats:

  • Intake of good fats from oilseeds, nuts olive oil, avocados, rice bran oil, nut or oilseed based oils etc is highly recommended since they are sources of omega 3 & 9.

  • Include fish twice a week.

  • Use these foods wisely: Those rich in omega 6 fats like red meat, sunflower oil, processed foods such as sausages, packaged snacks, etc.

  • Limit foods with trans fatty acids like commercially prepared baked goods such as puffs, cookies, use of hydrogenated fats like vanaspati/margarine.

  • Do not repeatedly reuse or reheat oils.

  • Research has recommended that healthy fats may inhibit the growth of breast tumors so do not exclude them.

You can seek medical help from the Best Breast Cancer Specialist in Bangalore for more information.

Eat high protein foods to avoid loss of muscle which is common in all kinds of cancer:

  • Increase your intake of poultry, vegetarian proteins (legumes and lentils) and fish.

  • Include protein in every meal/snack.

Include antioxidants & Vitamin A, C, E and selenium to your diet:

Foods containing phytonutrients, chemo-preventive properties, anti-estrogenic properties that defeat the cancer cells from multiplying in our body, decreases oxidative stress, inflammation and epigenome alteration, such as:

  • Carotenoids: Dark yellow/orange/green vegetables and fruits

  • Lycopene: Tomatoes, watermelon and grapefruit.

  • Phenolic compounds & diallyl sulfides: Garlic, Green tea, onions, shallots, and dark leafy veg.

  • Glucosinolates, sulforaphane, isothiocyanates and indoles: Cabbage, sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, mustard leaves.

  • Curcumin: Add turmeric in your cooking daily.

  • Selenium source brazil nuts, and Vitamin C with foods like kiwi, guava, amla and capsicum.

Words of wisdom to remember:

  • Use microgreens from your kitchen garden that are harvested daily.

  • Keeping these culprit foods off your grocery list such as polished grains / refined flours/sugars.

  • Factors that raise the risk of breast cancer include high pickled / processed food/ caffeine intake, daily consumption of smoked/charred/grilled foods, and high-temperature cooking (> 300 degrees F).

  • Soy supplements are not suggested but natural sources can be used as instructed.

  • Review your Nutritionist regularly and keep your Vitamin D levels at normal.

  • Follow the food safety guidelines if you have a weakened immune system or while chemotherapy. Wash and clean foods fully during preparation. Do not intake raw and undercooked foods while dining out.

  • Regularly evaluate your body fat percentage and manage healthy body muscle, bone mass, fat, and good basal metabolic rate with a lowered waistline.

  • Research indicates that the risk of breast cancer recurrence is associated with alcohol consumption which is particularly among postmenopausal and overweight/obese women who bring about particular epigenetic changes in their genes.

  • Drink sufficient fluids at least 1.5 – 2litres of water daily. And if you feel nauseated drink ginger ale or chilled fluids.

  • Physical exercise decreases breast cancer risks, so get active!

  • Foods specified in the above list requires to be guided by your Dietitian and anything more or less always has a risk.

If you need the Best Breast Cancer Treatment in Bangalore, get in touch with Aster CMI Hospital - Top Breast Cancer Hospital in Bangalore.