October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and while the number of new cases each year is disheartening, families, friends, companies and organizations all over the nation are stepping up and raising awareness for a cure.

And while many uncontrollable factors influence our risk for cancer, like genetics for one, there are many other health enhancing behaviors that may help decrease our risk, like nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress, etc.

We at Simply Nutrition believe one can adopt medical nutrition therapy guidelines and disease prevention tips while still incorporating Intuitive Eating Principles. You may have heard of some of these principles like honoring your hunger, respecting your body, and practicing gentle nutrition.

Gentle Nutrition is about making food choices that honor our health and taste buds while making you feel good. It’s about being flexible and recognizing that nutrition isn’t black or white. It’s about adding in health-promoting foods when you can, in ways that you enjoy, and focusing on how they make you feel.

Certain foods that are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients may help protect against some cancers. These foods include;

  • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabbage along with dark leafy greens like collards and kale
  • Fruits like berries, pomegranate, and citrus
  • Whole grains from foods like oats, whole grain breads and cereals, whole rye, and barley
  • Legumes like beans and peas, lentils, and soybeans

            Most people know fruits and vegetables are great additions to your plate. Though it’s not completely clear which components are most protective against cancer, they do provide sources of phytochemicals like flavonoids and carotenoids which have different possible processes for protecting against cancer by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Try aiming for minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

            While soy was once thought to have a negative impact on breast cancer because they contain isoflavones (a similar structure to estrogen), it’s now shown safe and possibly preventative to breast cancer. Soy can be found in foods like edamame, tofu, tempeh, and soymilk.

            We also recommend incorporating Omega 3 Fatty Acids found in fatty fish, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seed, and hemp seeds for their protection towards inflammation.

To learn more about breast cancer research, visit https://ww5.komen.org . To learn how to adopt more Intuitive Eating Principles with other chronic diseases, book a counseling session with one of our dietitians at Simply Nutrition.