Isn’t it best to prevent a disease than treat it? And what can be better than the ability to prevent cancer? Nutritional science has always been at the forefront when it comes to preventing or cutting down the risk for several diseases, including cancer. While breast cancer is among the top diseases ailing women worldwide, it can definitely be prevented.
Here are six powerhouse foods loaded with nutrients and cancer-fighting compounds that will keep your breasts healthy.
Rich in fiber, minerals, essential vitamins and phytonutrients, beans make an important breast cancer-fighting food. Several studies have found that women who consumed legumes at least twice a week had a lower risk of developing breast cancer as opposed to those who didn’t. Black beans, in particular, stand out for the high antioxidant content in their skin along with their rich fiber content.
The insoluble fiber present in black beans and other fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, dates and raspberries sweep the free estrogen (a known risk factor for estrogen-driven breast cancer) out of the body. (Related Article: High-Fiber Diets: What You Need to Know)
These green florets have garnered a lot of attention as a cancer-fighting food in recent times. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables such as arugula, artichoke, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy and kale have ample amounts of sulforaphane—a phytochemical that inhibits cancer growth. Enjoy broccoli as a soup or with some chicken.
Portobello, shitake, white or button, mushrooms are a good source of selenium, an immune-boosting antioxidant known for its anti-cancer properties. Cremini, oyster and shitake mushrooms are particularly rich in L-ergothioneine, which is also a potent anti-tumor phytochemical.
Add mushrooms to your omelets, frittatas, stir-fries, soups and stews. Here are some mouthwatering healthy mushroom recipes: Vegetable Soup Recipe: Creamy Mushroom & Barley Soup, Stuffed Mushrooms.
A smart lean protein source, fish is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is a cancer-fighting nutrient. Omega-3 fatty acids are not only helpful for overall well-being, but also reduce the inflammation that damages healthy cells. Consider oily options of fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna or sea bass. Vegetarians and non-fish eaters can opt for chia seeds, flaxseeds and walnuts.
Berries such as raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid and anthocyanin, which offer tumor-fighting potential. According to a study, blueberries increase the inhibitory effect of tamoxifen (a prescription drug for cancer) and can thus help in breast cancer management and treatment. Apart from cancer, berries also help maintain a strong and healthy heart. (Related Article: Give Your Heart A Berry Good Treat)
They are thought to play an important role in reducing the risk of estrogen-dependent breast cancers. The crunchy seeds contain ellagic acid, which is a potent antioxidant and inhibits the activity of an enzyme that plays a role in breast cancer development. Pomegranate seeds are also known to improve blood and heart health.
Add the seeds to your salads or morning cereal. You can also add pure pomegranate juice to your smoothies or iced teas. However, limit it to one cup a day.
These foods will not only help prevent cancer, but will also keep your heart healthy.