October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. With the fall changes in the air, it’s a great time to think about changes we can make to our diet and lifestyle to help prevent breast cancer. While there are cancer risk factors that are beyond our control, what we choose to nourish our bodies with is completely within our control and is one of the most powerful weapons we have for preventing and fighting cancer.
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More matters! More fruits and vegetables, that is. With more plants comes more fiber-rich, immune-boosting, disease-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals that our bodies just cannot get enough of. Take broccoli, for example. This green guru of the garden packs glucobrassicin, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, and kaempferol, all known to boost the immune system and reduce oxidative stress on the body. Just one cup of broccoli provides over 200% of our daily value for Vitamin C!
Other plants with research based evidence in favor of reducing breast cancer risk are:
- Cruciferous, dark green veggies like spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, and kale
- Fruits such as citrus, berries, pomegranates, and cherries
- Whole grains such as oats, barley, bulgur, rye and whole-grain breads and cereals
- Legumes such as dried beans and peas, lentils, and soybeans
Where do I start?
A good goal for for fruit and vegetables is 9-13 servings per day. This consists of 1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked for veggies and 1 cup chopped or 1 small piece for fruit. This may seem like a lot, but start with 1-2 servings at each meal and then gradually increase. Try replacing a processed snack with a whole food. Make half your plate veggies. Try fresh fruit with every breakfast.
Another great way to jumpstart your daily fruit and veggie intake is with a smoothie. Think kale, spinach, peppers, berries, banana, and pomegranate.
Just get started!
Here's a great recipe to try this week: https://cookieandkate.com/favorite-broccoli-salad-recipe/