Whether you have breast cancer, have had breast cancer, or would just like to prevent breast cancer, this post is for you!
In my research on nutrition and breast cancer, I came upon a fabulous resource! It’s a 92-page document on nutrition and breast cancer from UCSF Medical Center.
Since I know most of you don’t have time to read a 92-page document, I’d like to summarize their findings for you.
1. Eat 8 to 10 colorful fruit and vegetable servings daily.
This should include two to three pieces of fruit, one cup or more of vegetables with lunch and dinner and 8-fluid-ounces of vegetable juice. There is extensive and consistent evidence that diets high in fruits and vegetables are associated with decreased risk of many cancers.
2. Consume 30 to 40 grams of fiber daily.
You are likely to meet your fiber goal if you eat 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables plus one serving of beans/legumes, one serving of chia and/or flax seed, or at least two servings of whole grains daily. Fiber binds to toxic compounds and carcinogens and helps eliminate them from the body.
3. Avoid processed and refined grains, flours, and sugars.
Keep white off your plate: bread, pasta, rice, cream sauces, cakes, and more. High sugar foods are usually highly processed and refined, low in nutrient value, and low in dietary fiber. These foods also increase serum insulin and serum insulin-like growth factor, which stimulate cancer growth.
4. Lean protein with every meal and plant protein daily.
By including a lean protein with each meal, insulin levels will be kept more steady. Studies, however, have linked the consumption of animal protein to breast cancer, so plant based protein is ideal.
5. Limit fatty and processed meats and limit dairy.
Studies have found that a reduced fat intake decreases the risk of breast cancer and of breast cancer recurrence.
6. Include healthy fats like cold-water fish, chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans, olive oil, and avocados.
These foods are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Research is growing supporting a protective relationship between omega-3 fatty acids against the risk of breast cancer.
8. Eat chia seeds and ground flax daily—1 to 2 tablespoons per day.
Chia and ground flax are excellent plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
9. Consume herbs and spices daily.
Herbs and spices are full of anti-inflammatory nutrients that have been shown to reduce cancer risk.
10. Limit alcohol consumption.
As little as 1 serving of alcohol per day has been shown to increase breast cancer risk.
11. Drink 1 to 4 cups of green tea daily.
Green tea contains phytonutrients known as polyphenols that provide antioxidant and anticancer properties.
12. Ask your doctor about having a vitamin D blood test.
Maintain your level above 40 ng/ml through diet and, if needed, supplements.
13. Drink plenty of fluids, water or non-caffeinated beverages, daily to help meet fluid needs.
Adequate fluids are needed for the body to function optimally.
14. Engage in daily physical activity to help achieve and/or maintain a healthy weight.
Excess body weight, as well as low levels of physical activity, have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in multiple studies.
There you have it! The perfect breast cancer diet! I highly encourage you to read the entire document, including all the data supporting the recommendations, here.