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Nutrition for Today: Follow these diet-based suggestions to reduce risk of breast cancer – Florida Today

Posted: October 5, 2021 at 6:10 pm

Susie Bond| Special to FLORIDA TODAY

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Good news! Breast cancer death rates in the United States have decreased 41% since 1990. This is due to the development of better methods of treatment and earlier detection than ever before.

Nevertheless, it is still the second most common cause of cancer deaths in women (lung cancer is the first).

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. Its a good time to take a fresh look at what the newest research shows about risk and prevention.

As frightening as a diagnosis of breast cancer is, its comforting to know that much of the risk is due to lifestyle factors under our control that can be changed.

Of course, we know theres a genetic component as well, and more research is being done to identify those factors. But the overall picture is getting brighter as we learn of more ways to treat and detect breast cancer.

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We have learned that body weight, physical activityand alcohol consumption all play a role in risk. We also know there are certain dietary components that offer protection.

Lets take a closer look at these and explore ways to reduce risk.

Adult weight gain has been identified as the single most important risk factor for breast cancer.

Not only are women with obesity at increased risk, but also those who are overweight.

Obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or above; overweight is classified as having a BMI of 25-30.

It only takes a weight loss of 5-10 pounds to reduce risk significantly.

Physical activity has been associated with lower risk in many studies over the years.

There are several reasons for this.

One is that exercise lowers estrogen levels, which have been linked to risk.

Also, exercise lowers insulin and inflammation in the body, both of which are strong markers of increased risk.

How much exercise does it take to have a positive effect?

The U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines recommend 150-300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity. Moderate activity includes walking, bicyclingand working out on aerobic exercise machines such as treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical trainers.

In order to get the minimum 150 minutes per week, you could exercise 30 minutes per day, five days per week.

Alcohol intake has been consistently correlated with increase breast cancer risk.

Women who have two or more drinks a day have a 30% higher risk than those who dont.

Just so were clear, one drink equals five ounces of wine (red or white), 12 ounces of beeror 1.5 ounces of liquor.

It makes no difference whether youre drinking wine, beer or liquor its the total alcohol content that matters.

A recent study that tracked 80,000 women for six years showed that those who consumed at least 10 teaspoons of added sugar per day had a 52% higher risk of breast cancer than those who consumed less than 4 teaspoons per day.

Be sure to check nutrition labels on the foods you eat. Divide the grams of added sugar by four to determine how many teaspoons of sugar it contains.

One teaspoon of sugar is the equivalent of four grams of sugar. So, if a product contains 12 grams of added sugar, thats three teaspoons.

A high intake of fruits and vegetables has been shown to be protective.

In particular, cruciferous vegetables and those with a high carotenoid content are especially beneficial.

Cruciferous vegetables are all of those in the cabbage family cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, etc.

Fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids tend to be yellow and orange carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, oranges, yellow summer squashand winter squashes such as butternut and acorn squash.

Preliminary studies seem to indicate that consumption of extra-virgin olive oil reduces risk, as does the consumption of soy foods.

These recommendations will not only help lower risk of breast cancer but can also help protect against a variety of other chronic health conditions.

Its a win-win!

Susie Bond is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist in private practice. Contact her at NutritionistOnCall@gmail.com

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Nutrition for Today: Follow these diet-based suggestions to reduce risk of breast cancer - Florida Today

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