October is breast cancer awareness month. Many people I know have been touched
by cancer in some way, including my paternal grandmother and grandfather. Four
years ago, a friend died at the young age of 53 due to pancreatic cancer. A
dear friend had a double mastectomy due to breast cancer. Chances are that
someone close to you has had cancer, too.
Poor nutrition may raise the risk for breast cancer and
other forms of cancer. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I’m passionate
about educating people how to reduce their risk through diet and nutrition.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), a nutrient-rich
diet that includes fruit, vegetables, fish, and poultry has also been linked
with a lower risk of breast
cancer. The risk of mouth and esophagus cancers may be reduced by a diet
high in vegetables and fruits. A diet high in certain vegetables, such as
tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, beans and other legumes, as well as fish, may
lower the risk of prostate cancer.
So, how can you reduce
your risk for cancer? The ACS recommends the following:
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight throughout life
- Be physically active
- Eat a healthy diet, with an emphasis on plant foods
- If you drink alcohol, limit your intake
Remember that old
saying, “You are what you eat?” Food is fuel for your body, mind and soul. My
personal advice: nourish your body, mind and soul by eating nutrient-dense,
real food. The fewer highly processed convenience foods you eat, the better you
One last thought, being aware of the health history of close
family members is important. Knowing if your parents, grandparents or siblings
had cancer, cardiovascular disease or any chronic or autoimmune illness may
help guide you on your path to good health.