Eat Smart, Move More
Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
While there is no certain way to prevent breast cancer, it has been found that leading a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk and boost your odds if you do get breast cancer. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the perfect time to learn how to reduce your risk through eating right and engaging in physical activity.
All women are vulnerable to breast cancer, but some have an increased risk. Risk factors include: a family history of breast cancer; menstruation before age twelve; menopause after age 55; inherited gene mutations; pregnancy of first child after age 35; overweight; and older age.
Don't panic! Having certain risk factors doesn't make cancer inevitable, and research has found that eating smarter can make a difference. Evidence suggests foods high in dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients can protect against some cancers:
- Cruciferous and dark, leafy green vegetables: spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, kale
- Fruits: citrus, berries, cherries
- Whole-grains: oats, barley, bulgur, whole-grain pastas, breads, cereals, crackers
- Legumes: dried beans and peas, lentils, soybeans
Because weight is closely connected with breast cancer, engaging in regular physical activity can help reduce your risk and allow you to maintain a healthy weight. Try adding simple exercises to your work day like hand-delivering a message or going for a walk during lunch. For optimal health, aim for 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
For more information on how to eat healthier and reduce your risk of breast cancer and other diseases, consult a registered dietitian nutritionist.
Reviewed April 2013