I recently came across a new report stating that only one third of American women are getting adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables in their diet to protect against breast and ovarian cancers, among other conditions. The health promoting benefits of a diet high in antioxidant and nutrient rich vegetables and fruits has long been established, particularly with regards to cancer prevention.
There are many things you can do to support the health of your breasts, but perhaps the single most important factor is diet. Eating more fiber, less animal fat and including a wide variety of organic fruits and vegetables in your diet will help promote cellular breast health by increasing your body nutritional and antioxidant profiles, helping to maintain optimum immune function and promote DNA integrity. Diets high in organic vegetables and fruits are linked with enhanced antioxidant activity, improved digestion, healthy inflammation response, proper glucose metabolism, healthier lipid profiles, and increased immune activity, among other health benefits. A natural food diet can also support heavy metal detoxification, which is critical in the fight against cancer.
Choose Healthy Fats
Essential fatty acids are important nutrients for health, and since the body cannot make them, we must obtain them from food sources. Foods such as salmon, tuna, halibut, algae, and walnuts, as well as oils including canola, soybean, flaxseed, and olive are all good sources of fatty acids. These sources effectively help to reduce inflammation, as well as suppress the formation and growth of cancer cells in the body. Fried and processed foods that are high in trans fat, such as high-fat meats, cheeses, and commercially baked products, contain pro-inflammatory properties that may increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
Get Your Fiber
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that passes through the digestive system without being broken down, providing positive effects on the digestion process. Fiber is primarily found in foods that come from plant sources, including all-natural cereals, whole-grain breads, beans, fruits, vegetables, and nuts, and can effectively increase the rate at which wastes are removed from the body, preventing the re-absorption of toxins through the digestive tract.
Eat Your Veggies
In addition to providing your body with much-needed fiber, vegetables, in particular cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale, feed your system with vital antioxidants and phytonutrients needed to maintain healthy cell function and modulate hormone activity. Carotenoids are critical phytonutrients present in many fruits and vegetables, and are important in protecting against breast and ovarian cancers, as well as other cancers. When eaten raw or lightly cooked, high nutrient vegetables enhance the body ability to protect against cellular damage and promote the formation of healthy new cells. They contain essential vitamins and minerals that effectively boost immunity, including calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and beta carotene.
Flaxseeds may be small in size but certainly do not fall short when it comes to their cancer-fighting properties. Flaxseeds contain phytoestrogens, which block the estrogen receptors on cells within breast tissue to hinder tumor growth and cell damage. Two other significant elements of flaxseeds are lignans and alpha linolenic acid, which also protect against cell damage and help reduce inflammation.
Avoid Processed Products
Another important component of maintaining breast health involves transitioning to a whole foods based diet, which means eliminating processed foods that are low in nutritional value and high in salt, sugar and unhealthy fats. Sticking to organic and nutrient-dense foods such as those mentioned above will provide your body with the critical antioxidant support needed to maintain cellular health, strengthen immunity, and help remove the toxins that have built up in your system over time. It is also important to eliminate foods that have strong pro-inflammatory potential, such as processed foods, highly salted or sweetened foods, non-organic foods, red meat, alcohol and stimulants such as caffeine. The connections between chronic inflammation and cancer have long been established, so the importance of an anti-inflammation diet which eliminates processed foods cannot be understated
Food Allergy Testing
Sticking to this natural food diet may provide additional benefits if coupled with the reduction of other common foods that may cause inflammation and irritation to the lining of your digestive system. These common allergy inducing foods, which include milk products, gluten-containing grain products (wheat, rye, barley, and oats), corn, strawberries, and shellfish, among others, may compromise your body ability to absorb nutrients and promote an environment where unhealthy bacteria and yeast grow.
Since over half of all Americans are estimated to suffer from some form of food allergy or food sensitivity that causes chronic health problems, there are a variety of tests available to help you discover the types of foods you are sensitive to. One method is to undergo an elimination diet, where you remove all suspected allergenic foods from your diet until the symptoms subside, and then reintroduce them one by one over the course of several days to observe your body’s response. Other tests include the following:
In this skin prick test, small amounts of suspected foods are placed on the skin and then your skin is pricked with a needle to release a tiny amount of the substance below the skin’s surface. An allergic reaction to a particular food will cause you to develop a raised bump or other skin reaction.
A blood test measures your immune system’s response to particular foods by testing a blood sample against various foods and finding the amount of antibodies that are in your bloodstream.
IgG Food Allergy Test
The ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test analyzes levels of IgG antibodies for common allergy-causing foods and identifies the foods that may be causing health problems.
All of these recommendations can be modified to fit the lifestyle and preferences of each individual to make healthy eating a regular part of life. Maintaining continued dedication to making wholesome choices for yourself on every level – body, mind and spirit – will help you set a foundation for optimal health and vibrancy that will stay with you in the long term. After all, remember what Hippocrates said, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”
Dr. Isaac Eliaz, a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine since the early 1980's, is a respected author, lecturer, researcher, product formulator and clinical practitioner.
Since 1991 Dr. Eliaz has maintained a busy private practice in northern California that focuses primarily on integrative, holistic protocols for cancer patients. He leads an integrative medical team at Amitabha Clinic in Sebastopol, California with focus on cancer and other chronic ailments.
To learn more, please visit www.dreliaz.org.
Latest posts by Dr. Isaac Eliaz (see all)
- Trouble sleeping? Top tips for a great night’s sleep - June 7, 2016
- 4 ancient medicinal mushrooms fight modern diseases - June 2, 2016
- Ancient wisdom meets modern science in the fight against cancer - March 15, 2016