Archive | October 6, 2011

Breast Cancer – The Role Nutrition Plays in Your Risk and Risk Reduction

by Donna Quirk, MBA RD LD
LMC Clinical Nutrition Manager

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and although no specific foods have been shown to cause or prevent cancer, let’s review the steps you can take to lower your risk.

1. Maintain a Healthy Weight – Overweight women and particularly women who gain weight after menopause are at increased risk of developing breast cancer because more body fat leads to more estrogen – the hormone that can stimulate breast cancer growth.

Keep your Body Mass Index (BMI) less than 30. Don’t know your BMI? There are many on-line calculators, try this one on Lexington Medical Center’s website.

2. Be Physically Active – Research is starting to show that women who exercise, even moderately, for 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. So, get out and walk in this beautiful October weather!

3. Decrease Alcohol Intake. Women who drink 2 or more drinks daily have 1 ½ times the risk of women who drink no alcohol.

4. Choose Fruits, Vegetables, and Whole-grains. Eat less Red Meat and Fat. Sound familiar? This tried and true recommendation helps boost your immune system and control your weight.

5. What About Soy? Avoid soy supplements. Soy contains isoflavones, which can act like estrogen that stimulates the growth of certain types of breast cancer. Supplements usually contain more concentrated doses of isoflavones than whole food sources of soy.

Soy foods, such as soy milk, tofu or edamame, are not believed to increase risk of developing breast cancer or of it re-occurring. Two to three servings a day of soy from whole foods are OK.