According to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), breast cancer is quite common among women and it affects 1 in 8 in the US. Contrary to belief, breast cancer can affect men too, but men suffering from breast cancer accounts for only to 1 percent of all cases.
There can be various reasons for breast cancer, the most common include genetics or DNA damage. According to the NIH, inheritance of genes like BRCA1 and BRCA2 causes breast cancer. Lifestyle changes like heavy drinking, smoking, processed food and poor diet may increase the risk of breast cancer.
But there are studies show that few foods could lower the risk of breast cancer.
Leafy Green Vegetables
These vegetables include kale, spinach, mustard greens and chard that possess anti-cancer properties due to high levels of carotenoids like beta carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein.
In the studies, the women with higher levels of carotenoids in their blood had 18-28 percent reduced risk of breast cancer and the chances of recurrence and death due to breast cancer had also reduced significantly.
Fatty fish include fishes like salmon, mackeral and sardines which are a rich source of selenium, omega-3s and antioxidants like canthaxanthin. These have many health benefits and can protect us from cancer as well.
In an analysis of various studies which included more than 8,00,000 people, it was found that intake of sea food rich in omega-3s can reduce the risk of breast cancer by 14 percent.
Citrus fuits like lemon, orange, grapefruit are filled with nutrients like folates, flavonoids, vitamin C, carotenoids like beta cryptoxanthin, beta carotene, antioxidants like uercetin, naringenin and hesperetin. These fruits have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties as well and they can reduce the risk of breast cancer by 10 percent.
Increase in the levels of estrogen hormone is also a cause for breast cancer. Berries are filled with antioxidants like flavonoids and anthocyanins that have proved to protect us against cell damage and growth of cancer cells in the body. Studies under the US NIH have proved that berries, especially blueberries reduce the risk of estrogen receptors thus reducing the risk of breast cancer.
Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices like ginger, turmeric, curry leaves, thyme, parsley and oregano are rich in vitamins, fatty acids and polyphenol antioxidants that reduce the risk of breast cancer. The antioxidants carvacrol and rosmarinic acid present in oregano have strong anti-cancer properties and can fight against the cancer cells. Curcumin in turmeric and epigenin in parsley are responsible for their anti-cancer properties.
Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli contain a compound like glucosinolate which are converted into isothiocyanates, which are potentially capable of destroying the cancer cells. A small study showed the increase in intake of these vegetables reduced the risk of breast cancer.
Apples, Peaches and Pears
Fruits like peaches, apples and pears can reduce the risk of breast cancer. According to a study including 75,000 women showed that two servings of peach a week reduced the risk of breast cancer by 41 percent due to the presence of polyphenol antioxidants in peaches that reduced the estrogen receptors responsible for breast cancer.
Another study showed that apples and pears can also be beneficial for keeping breast cancer at bay.
Beans are filled with nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fibers and the high levels of fiber, which is the main reason they can lower the risk of breast cancer. According to the studies under NIH, people who consumed high portions of bean were at a 20 percent lower risk of being affected by breast cancer.
Vegetables like onions, ginger and leeks are known as allium vegetables and they contain nutrients like organosulfur, vitamin C, flavonoids and other antioxidants that have anti-cancer properties.
Studies have shown the association between the regular consumption of garlic, onion or leek and reduced risk of breast cancer but more studies are still needed.
Fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi and miso are filled with probiotics and other nutrients that provide protection against breast cancer. According to a review of 27 studies, fermented dairy proved to reduce the risk of breast cancer in both Asian and Western people. Moreover, probiotics in these foods strengthen our immune system and enables it to fight against the cancer cells.