October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the perfect time to learn how to reduce your risk by eating right and engaging in physical activity. While there is no guaranteed way to prevent breast cancer, a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of developing it and boost your odds of full recovery.
All women are vulnerable to developing breast cancer but certain women are at a higher risk. Although some risk factors can’t be controlled, such as family history, gene mutations, onset of menstruation and menopause, other risk factors can be reduced by focusing on nutrition and lifestyle choices.
Weight is closely connected with breast cancer risk. Engaging in regular physical activity is one way to help protect yourself by promoting a healthy weight. For optimal health, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
Certain foods — high in dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients — may help protect against some cancers. These foods include:
- Cruciferous and dark, leafy green vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards and kale
- Fruits: Citrus, berries, pomegranate and cherries
- Whole grains: Oats, barley, bulgur, rye and whole-grain breads and cereals
- Legumes: Dried beans and peas, lentils and soybeans
Alcohol intake also is linked with breast cancer risk. If you drink, limit your intake to no more than one alcoholic beverage per day.
To learn more about eating healthier to reduce your risk of breast cancer and other diseases, consult a registered dietitian nutritionist.