Today we continue taking action in our fight against breast cancer by proceeding to Day 2 of my 7 Days to Healthier Breasts Challenge.
DAY 2 TO HEALTHIER BREASTS
Day 2 is the day for you to start losing weight with my easy cancer-fighting eating plan. Even if you don’t need to lose weight, I’ve included two critical eating changes below to lower your breast cancer risk.
Losing weight is one of the most important steps to fighting the threat of breast cancer, so I want you to set a small goal to lose 2 to 4 pounds in the next 2 weeks. Once you meet your first weight loss goal, set a new small goal to meet. Lowering daily calories will decrease damage to your DNA, and will lower levels of cancer-feeding hormones in your body.
Go to the grocery store or shop online to get protein shakes and bars with at least 20 grams of protein per serving, fruits, veggies, snacks, and dinner entrées.
Include as many items as you can from my Top Ten list of foods and supplements that fight breast cancer: carrots, green tea, apples, fiber-rich foods and supplements, omega-3 foods (salmon and other oil-rich fish) and supplements, ground flaxseed powder, walnuts, pomegranates, broccoli, and low-glycemic foods (lean proteins, fruits and veggies, and beans). Get Vitamin D3-rich foods and supplements.
Start reducing or eliminating high-glycemic foods from your diet. Sweet tasting foods are usually not sweet to your breast health.
Start a good multivitamin if you don’t already use one. Many studies show reduced risks of cancer from common vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, C, and E, and selenium. As you get older, your internal antioxidant systems shut down leaving your breast tissues exposed to increased damage from free radicals. It becomes very important to shield your body with antioxidants from your diet to block damage to important DNA blueprints in breast tissues. New government research shows that cells from multivitamin users “look younger” with healthier DNA ends called “telomeres” . We absorb less vitamins and minerals from our food as we age, thus the need for supplements. Although general multivitamins haven’t been shown to reduce risk of breast cancer, it intuitively makes sense to take one for general protection.
TWO CRITICAL CHANGES TO REDUCE YOUR RISK
Reduce your intake of grilled, barbequed, and smoked meat, and any meat cooked at high-temperatures. You could reduce your risk by up to 74%. Doctors at University of South Carolina found that postmenopausal women who consumed the most grilled, barbecued, or smoked red meat over their lifetime have a 47% increased risk of breast cancer . This same study showed that big meat-eaters who also skimped on fruit and vegetables had a 74% increased risk of the disease. Cooking meat at high temperatures until “well done,” especially pan-fried or grilled meat, produces high amounts of cancer-causing chemicals. The iron content (from heme in the blood) in red meat may generate free radicals in the colon that damage DNA. Avoid burnt parts of meat altogether. Cook “lower and slower” to reduce the negative consequences. You can marinate and precook meats in the microwave to minimize grilling heat and cooking times. Nitrates/nitrites and salt used in processed meats (e.g., bologna and hot dogs) may also create chemicals that damage DNA. Some meats, particularly processed meats, are typically high in saturated fat. Doctors from Stanford and Albert Einstein College of Medicine recently reported that eating meat does not increase risk. The way meat is cooked is likely the most important factor, along with choosing lean cuts.
Decrease your total fat and saturated fat intake, and eliminate all trans-fats. You could reduce your risk by up to 42%. Doctors in one study found that a reduced total fat intake improves relapse-free survival by 24% in postmenopausal women with breast cancer . In the same study, the risk of recurrence for women with ER negative breast cancer decreased by 42%. A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported a 32% increase in developing breast cancer among women who consumed 40% of their total calories as fat compared to women who consumed 20% of their total calories from fat . Another European study reported that even a small increase in dietary fat intake increased breast cancer risk . A high fat diet stimulates production of more estrogen . Optimally, less than 20% of your total calories should come from fat, with less than 8% of total calories from “saturated fat.” Two studies have shown a 40% and 75% increase in breast cancer risk with high intake levels of “trans-fats” [7, 8]. Trans-fats are also deadly for your heart, thus you should eliminate all trans-fats from your diet. Read the labels. Make notes. Learn what you are putting into your body because your life depends on it.
Xu Q, Parks CG, DeRoo LA, Cawthon RM, Sandler DP, Chen H. Multivitamin use and telomere length in women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2009; 89:1857-1863.
Steck SE, Gaudet MM, Eng SM, Britton JA, Teitelbaum SL, Neugut AI, Santella RM, Gammon MD. Cooked meat and risk of breast cancer – lifetime versus recent dietary intake. Epidemiology 2007; 18:373-382.
Chlebowski RT, Blackburn GL, Thomson CA, Nixon DW, Shapiro A, Hoy MK, Goodman MT, Giuliano AE, Karanja N, McAndrew P, Hudis C, Butler J, Merkel D, Kristal A, Caan B, Michaelson R, Vinciguerra V, Del Prete S, Winkler M, Hall R, Simon M, Winters BL, Elashoff RM. Dietary fat reduction and breast cancer outcome: interim efficacy results from the Women’s Intervention Nutrition Study. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2006; 98:1767-1776.
Thiebaut ACM, Kipnis V, Chang S-C, Subar AF, Thompson FE, Rosenbert PS, Hollenbeck AR, Leitzmann M, Schatzkin A. Dietary fat and postmenopausal invasive breast cancer in the National Institutes of Health – AARP Diet and Health Study Cohort. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2007; 99:451-462.
Schulz M, Hoffmann K, Weikert C, Nothlings U, Schulze MB, Boeing H. Identification of a dietary pattern characterized by high-fat food choices associated with increased risk of breast cancer: the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) – Potsdam Study. British Journal of Nutrition 2008; 100:942-946.
Aubertin-Leheudre M, Gorbach S, Woods M, Dwyer JT, Goldin B, Adlercreutz H. Fat/fiber intakes and sex hormones in healthy premenopausal women in the USA. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 2008; 112:32-39.
Chajes V, Thiebaut AC, Rotival M, Gauthier E, Maillard V, Boutron-Ruault MC, Joulin V, Lenoir GM, Clavel-Chapelon F. Association between serum trans-monounsaturated fatty acids and breast cancer risk in the E3N-EPIC Study. American Journal of Epidemiology 2008; 167:1312-1320.
Kohlmeier L, Simonsen N, van’t Veer P, Strain JJ, Martin-Moreno JM, Margolin B, Huttunen JK, Fernandez-Crehuet NJ, Martin BC, Thamm M, Kardinaal AF, Kok FJ. Adipose tissue trans fatty acids and breast cancer in the European Community Multicenter Study on Antioxidants, Mycardial Infarction, and Breast Cancer. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention 1997; 6:705-710.