Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women. According to statistics, it affects one in nine women. After diagnosis, healthy eating and maintaining an adequate nutrition status is emphasized in order to reduce the chances of recurrence.
Studies have shown that obese women with breast cancer have a lower survival rate and a higher probability of cancer recurrence, compared to women who are not obese. Some weight gain is often experienced by patients under chemotherapy, so it's advisable to receive nutrition assessment to maintain a healthy weight. This also helps to keep a positive self-image and self-esteem.
Fruit and vegetable consumption should be emphasized. The current recommendation is to eat at least 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, since they might reduce the recurrence of cancer because of the many protective substances they contain. In most women, except those that are highly sensitive to estrogen, moderate intake of soy may be protective by blocking the hormones that trigger the growth of cancer cells, such as estradiol.
Among the foods that should be considered are avocados, which are rich in monounsaturated fat, a healthy type of fat. Broccoli is another important food. It contains a substance called indole-3-carbinol, which has shown to be protective against breast cancer.
Including chocolate in the diet is also important since it contains flavonoids (substances that are rich in antioxidants). Green tea is another food you should have in the cupboard. It is rich in catechins, which are beneficial substances that inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Another food that should also be included in your diet is yogurt. Yogurt contains linoleic acid, which has been shown to inhibit inflammatory diseases by increasing T cells in the body (cells that play an important role in destroying cancer cells). Just make sure the yogurt you buy is organic to avoid other types of added hormones.
It should be clear that eating one specific food or doing one single thing will not provide all the protection you need against cancer. Always keep in mind that combining healthy habits—such as following a healhy diet, eating the right foods, and having an adequate weight control—is the best way to obtain long-lasting health benefits.
Escott – Stump, S. (2002) Nutrition and Diagnosis – Related Care, 5th Edition. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Philadelphia.
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