Fruits For Breast Cancer is a place that lists different fruits and vegetables that are beneficial in the prevention of breast cancer. The fruits and vegetables recommended can also be easily incorporated into our everyday diet. Fruits are part of our life, and it is impossible to imagine any diet without a daily intake of fruits. They contain essential vitamins such as VitaminA and VitaminC which helps to fight against cancers.
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What Foods Help Prevent Breast Cancer Risk?
Many factors influence your risk of cancer, including lifestyle and genetics. Discover foods and beverages that may help reduce – or increase – your breast cancer risk. Also, learn about chemicals like parabens and pesticides.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, with invasive breast cancer affecting 1 in every 8 women in the United States during their lifetime. It also occurs in men, although male breast cancer accounts for less than 1% of all breast cancer cases.
DNA damage and genetic mutations may cause breast cancer. Inheriting certain genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, can likewise increase your risk, as can having obesity
Lifestyle also plays a critical role. Research links smoking, estrogen exposure, heavy drinking, and certain dietary patterns — including Western diets high in processed foods — to an increased risk of breast cancer
Notably, studies associate other eating patterns like the Mediterranean diet with a reduced risk of breast cancer. Moreover, specific foods may even protect against this disease
Here are 7 foods that may help reduce your risk of breast cancer as well as a few to avoid.
Foods that may lower breast cancer risk
Keep in mind that many factors are associated with breast cancer development. While improving your diet can improve your overall health and reduce your cancer risk in general, it’s only one piece of the puzzle.
Even with a nutrient-rich diet, you still need regular breast cancer screenings like mammograms and manual checks. After all, early detection and diagnosis significantly increase survival rates. Ask a healthcare professional for advice about breast cancer screenings.
All the same, research suggests that these foods may lower your risk of the disease.
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1. Leafy green vegetables
These are just a few of the leafy green vegetables that may have anticancer properties:
- mustard greens
Leafy green vegetables contain carotenoid antioxidants, including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Higher blood levels of these antioxidants are associated with reduced breast cancer risk
An older 2012 analysis of 8 studies in 7,011 women found that those with higher levels of carotenoids had a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer compared with women with lower levels
Likewise, a large 2015 study linked higher blood levels of total carotenoids to an 18%–28% reduced risk of breast cancer as well as a reduced risk of recurrence and death in those who already had breast cancer. This study followed 32,826 women over a 20-year period
Some research has found that the intake of folate, a B vitamin concentrated in leafy green vegetables, may help protect against breast cancer. Research is mixed overall on whether folate intake has a significant impact, positive or negative, on breast cancer risk. More studies are needed.
2. Cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables, including cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli, may help lower your risk of breast cancer
They contain glucosinolate compounds, which your body can convert into molecules called isothiocyanates. These have significant anticancer potential
Notably, a study involving 1,493 Southern Chinese women linked higher total cruciferous vegetable intake to a reduced risk of breast cancer.
3. Allium vegetables
Garlic, onions, and leeks are all allium vegetables. They boast an array of nutrients, including organosulfur compounds, flavonoid antioxidants, and vitamin C. These may have powerful anticancer properties.
A study involving 660 women in Puerto Rico tied high garlic and onion intake to a reduced risk of breast cancer.
Likewise, a study involving 582 Iranian women found that a high intake of garlic and leeks may protect against breast cancer. A high intake of raw onion may have a small protective effect as well. Interestingly, the study also found that high consumption of cooked onion was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
Thus, more research on onions and breast health is needed.
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4. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits include:
Citrus fruits and their peels are teeming with compounds that may protect against breast cancer. It includes:
- vitamin C
- carotenoids like beta-cryptoxanthin and beta carotene
- flavonoid antioxidants like quercetin, hesperetin, and naringenin
These nutrients have antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory effects
In fact, research ties citrus fruit to a reduced risk of many cancers, including breast cancer. An older 2013 literature review of 6 studies involving 8,393 people linked high citrus intake to a 10% reduction in breast cancer risk
Regularly enjoying berries may help lower your risk of certain cancers, including breast cancer.
Antioxidants in berries, including flavonoids and anthocyanins, have been shown to protect against cellular damage as well as the development and spread of cancer cells
Notably, an older 2013 study involving 75,929 women linked higher intake of berries — and blueberries in particular — to a lower risk of estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer
6. Peaches, apples, pears, and grapes
Fruits — specifically peaches, apples, pears, and grapes — have been shown to safeguard against breast cancer.
In the large 2013 study mentioned above, women who consumed at least 2 servings of peaches each week had up to a 41% reduced risk of developing estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer
Interestingly, an older study from 2014 revealed that polyphenol antioxidants from peaches inhibited the growth and spread of a human breast cancer cell line implanted in an animal model
Studies analyzing data from hundreds of thousands of women have also linked apple and pear intake to a lower risk of breast cancer
Some test-tube studies also show that certain compounds found in grapes — including flavonoids and anthocyanins — can protect against breast cancer cells. More research involving humans is needed
7. Fatty fish
Fatty fish, including salmon, sardines, and mackerel, are known for their impressive health benefits. Their omega-3 fats, selenium, and antioxidants like astaxanthin may offer protective effects against cancer
Some studies show that eating fatty fish may specifically reduce your risk of breast cancer.
One older literature review from 2013 analyzed 21 studies involving a total of 883,585 people. Researchers found that those with the highest intake of seafood sources of omega-3s had up to a 14% reduced risk of breast cancer compared with those who ate the lowest amount
Other studies on the consumption of fish and its fatty acids report similar findings
Balancing your omega-3 to the omega-6 ratio by eating more fatty fish and less refined oils and ultra-processed foods may help reduce your breast cancer risk as a better.
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Dietary choices to help prevent breast cancer
No single food or diet can prevent or cause breast cancer, but a person’s dietary choices can make a difference to their risk of developing breast cancer or their overall well-being while living with the condition.
Breast cancer is a complex disease with many contributing factors. Some of these factors, including age, family history, genetics, and gender, are not within a person’s control.
However, a person can control other factors, such as smoking, physical activity levels, body weight, and diet. Some researchers have suggested that dietary factors could be responsible for 30–40% of all cancers.
Foods to eat
Breast cancer can start in different places, grow in different ways, and require different kinds of treatment. Just as particular types of cancer respond better to certain treatments, some cancers respond well to specific foods.
The following foods can play a role in a healthful diet in general, and they may also help prevent the development or progression of breast cancer:
- a variety of fruits and vegetables, including salad
- foods that are rich in fiber, such as whole grains, beans, and legumes
- low-fat milk and dairy products
- soybean-based products
- foods rich in vitamin D and other vitamins
- foods, particularly spices, with anti-inflammatory properties
- foods — mainly plant-based — that contain antioxidants
Dietary patterns that prioritize these foods include:
- A southern diet that is high in cooked greens, legumes, and sweet potatoes
- A Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables and healthful oils
- Any “prudent” diet that contains plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and fish
Fruits and vegetables
A study of 91,779 women found that following a diet comprising mainly plants could cut the risk of developing breast cancer by 15%.
Along with their other benefits, fruits and vegetables are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids, which appear to have various medical benefits.
Studies have suggested that the following foods may help prevent breast cancer:
- dark, green, leafy vegetables, such as kale and broccoli
- fruits, especially berries and peaches
- beans, pulses, fish, eggs, and some meat
Researchers have associated beta carotene, which occurs naturally in vegetables such as carrots, with a lower risk of breast cancer. Scientists speculate that this may be because it interferes with the growth process of cancer cells.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends consuming between five and nine servings of fresh fruit and vegetables a day.
Dietary fiber and antioxidants
Research into dietary fiber and its effect on breast cancer is currently inconclusive, but several studies have suggested that it can help protect against the disease.
Excess estrogen can be a factor in the development and spread of some types of breast cancer. Some treatments aim to keep estrogen from interacting with breast cancer cells. Eating a high-fiber diet can support this process and accelerate the elimination of estrogen.
Fiber supports the digestive system and the regular elimination of waste, including excess estrogen. It helps the body eliminate toxins and limits the damage that they can do.
The way that fiber binds to estrogen in the gut may also help prevent the body from absorbing too much estrogen. These factors may help reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes provide fiber, but they also contain antioxidants, including beta carotene and vitamins C and E.
Antioxidants can help prevent many diseases by reducing the number of free radicals, which are waste substances that the body naturally produces. A 2013 meta-analysis found that people who eat more whole grains may have a lower risk of breast cancer.
Fatty foods can lead to obesity, and people with obesity appear to have a higher risk of developing cancer, including breast cancer.
Some dietary fat is necessary for the body to work properly, but it is important to consume the right type.
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can be beneficial in moderation. They are present in:
- olive oil
Cold water fish, such as salmon and herring, contain a healthful polyunsaturated fat called omega-3. This fat may also help reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Learn more here about healthful fats.
The authors of a 2015 study cited a rodent study in which rodents that consumed 8¬–25% of their calories as omega-3 fats appeared to have a 20–35% lower chance of developing breast cancer.
They also cited another study involving over 3,000 women, which showed that those who consumed high levels of omega-3 had a 25% lower risk of a breast cancer recurrence over the next 7 years.
The health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids might be due to their ability to reduce inflammation. Inflammation may be a contributing factor to breast cancer.
Soy is a healthful food source that may help reduce the risk of breast cancer. It is a plant-based product that is rich in protein, healthful fat, vitamins, and minerals but low in carbohydrates. It also contains antioxidants known as isoflavones.
The authors of a 2017 study that looked at data for 6,235 women concluded that, overall, “a higher dietary intake of isoflavone was associated with reduced all-cause mortality.” The researchers were investigating whether soy consumption was a good idea for people with breast cancer.
Soy may also help reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease. Along with obesity, these conditions are risk factors that contribute to metabolic syndrome, which involves inflammation.
Inflammation may play a role in breast cancer, although the role that it plays remains uncertain.
Soy is present in foods such as:
- soy milk
- soy nuts
Some people question whether soy might increase the risk of breast cancer because it contains isoflavones, which resemble estrogen.
However, the author of a 2016 review article notes that estrogen is not the same as isoflavones and that the two are unlikely to behave in the same way. According to the author, the North American Menopause Society has concluded that isoflavones do not increase the risk of breast cancer.
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Foods to Add to Your Diet for Breast Cancer Prevention
Loading your plate with a rainbow of fruits and veggies is the foundation of a breast cancer prevention diet, and these same food choices can also help you live better after a breast cancer diagnosis.
This Easy Shopping List Could Fight Cancer
Can you help prevent breast cancer through a healthy diet? Making good choices at the grocery store isn’t a magic bullet, but research suggests it may help. In fact, an article published in the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2015 Education Book estimated that changes to eating and exercise habits could prevent 25 to 30 percent of cases of breast cancer. And while there’s no official consensus yet on the specific foods a cancer-prevention diet should include — or how much of those foods you should eat — diets full of whole grains, fiber, and fruits and vegetables have been linked to reduced risk.
More and more research is being done to figure out just what it is in these foods that prevent or slows the growth of the disease. It may be, for example, that antioxidants and compounds called phytochemicals in plants have protective powers against the cell damage that can lead to breast cancer. Some solid evidence points to carotenoids, otherwise known as the pigments that give carrots, tomatoes, and cantaloupe their bright red and orange colors, as being beneficial. Chemicals in cruciferous vegetables — think crunchy, fiber-filled broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage — may also help.
What’s agreed on by researchers so far is that obesity can be a risk for breast cancer, as can a sedentary lifestyle. Alcohol consumption should be limited, too: In more than 100 studies, excessive drinking has been consistently associated with an increased risk.
And experts recommend against using supplements as a nutrition shortcut. They won’t give you the benefits that actual foods will; in fact, they may sometimes interact harmfully with certain drugs.
In the end, exercise and diet may even play a greater role than weight management in breast cancer prevention. “Overweight women who exercise 150 minutes a week and eat lots of fruits and veggies have a lower risk of breast cancer than normal-weight women who are sedentary and have a low intake of fruits and veggies,” says nutritionist Mary Marian, RDN, assistant professor of practice and director of the didactic program of dietetics at the University of Arizona in Tucson. She recommends careful shopping in the produce section, seafood department, and spice aisle to help you create an anti-cancer nutrition plan.
The following foods, in particular, offer nutrients that may promote better breast health and boost your immune system.
Turmeric Puts Up a Fight Against Inflammation
The spice that gives curry its beautiful yellow color contains a chemical called curcumin. The research on this compound is inconclusive, but lab studies have shown that curcumin supplements could play a role in helping fight breast cancer tumors when combined with certain drug-based therapy.
On the other hand, some research suggests it might interfere with chemotherapy, so be sure to talk to your doctor before incorporating it into your diet during treatment.
It also may have an anti-inflammatory effect that could protect your overall health. You’ll need supplements to get enough curcumin, but putting a veggie curry full of broccoli, onions, and garlic on your breast cancer prevention menu could help make your anti-cancer nutrition plan more fun.
Go Green and Crunchy With Broccoli to Slow Tumor Growth
Broccoli has garnered the most attention as a breast cancer prevention food, and research has shown it blocks tumor growth, explains Marian, preventing the further spread of cancer if it does occur. You can also get this anti-cancer benefit from other cruciferous veggies — including cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale — but you most likely need to eat one or more of these vegetables every day, she advises.
Garlic and Onions Get Down to the Cellular Level
“Garlic seems to have an impact on cell cycling,” explains Marian. That’s the process that is not functioning properly when a healthy cell becomes cancerous and grows uncontrolled. Credit for regulating this goes to the component of garlic called allyl sulfide. Allyl sulfides are found throughout the onion family, so adding garlic or onions to your recipes on a regular basis may aid in breast cancer prevention.
People on blood thinners and certain other drugs should talk with their doctor before taking garlic supplements, to avoid possible drug interactions.
An Apple a Day Really Might Keep the Doctor Away
There may be something to this old saying, but there’s a catch. If you normally peel your apple and toss away the colorful wrapping, you’re also tossing away a rich source of antioxidants, fiber, and other compounds needed for anti-cancer nutrition. Lab studies suggest that apple peel can actually fight the spread of cancer cells.
The good news is that you don’t need exotic varieties — this research used readily available Red Delicious apples, so add them to your breast cancer prevention shopping list.
Pomegranates May Pack a Powerful, Juicy Punch
More investigation needs to be done on the role of pomegranates, but research, such as a study published in June 2015 in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, has suggested that the fruit contains a compound that might help fight cancer’s growth — especially estrogen-dependent cancers.
Pomegranates make a delicious and healthy addition to any breast cancer management plan or breast cancer prevention diet, whether in fruit or juice form. Adding them to your grocery list could benefit others in your family, too — they may also help fight heart disease and prostate cancer. Still, the juice may interact with cholesterol-lowering drugs, so ask your doctor about the risks.
Get Out Your Nut Cracker and Tame Tumors With Walnuts
Walnuts contain many nutrients and healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which may help your body fight inflammation. Research also suggests that walnuts may actually slow the growth of breast cancer tumors in mice, so this nut could be a helpful addition to your meals.
Fish Can Fill You With Protective Lean Protein
Fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. That makes it a smart lean protein source — and a great addition to a breast cancer prevention plan, because anti-cancer nutrition recommendations suggest limiting your intake of red meat and processed meats, including bacon and packaged deli meats. Opt for salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna — all are rich in omega-3s — as breast cancer diet choices instead.
Flaxseeds, Ground or Whole, Could Fend Off Cancer
Shopping for healthy fats will inevitably lead you to flaxseed oil, but this is an instance when your best anti-cancer nutrition choice is the seed itself, ground into flour-like dust.
“When you use milled flaxseed, it has a component called lignans,” explains Marian. According to a study published in June 2014 in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, lignans may possibly decrease cancer growth, which could make it useful in a breast cancer management diet. You can buy ground flaxseed or grind the seeds yourself using a coffee grinder. Then sprinkle the flaxseed on salads or include it in muffins.
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Soy Foods — Not Soy Products — May Bring Benefits
Soy has received mixed reviews regarding adult breast cancer prevention, but Marian says mothers may be interested to know about a large study of Asian-American women that found when adolescent girls ate at least one serving of soy foods a day, they reaped anti-cancer nutrition benefits later in life.
On the other hand, she recommends against adult women taking soy or isoflavone supplements as part of a breast cancer diet. These products contain estrogen-like compounds, which could prove to be too much of a good thing.
Brightly Colored Fruits and Vegetables Are Allies
When it comes to breast cancer prevention, think about eating more carrots, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes — foods rich in the compounds known as carotenoids. According to an article published in June 2015 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who have higher levels of carotenoids in their bloodstream seem to be at a lower risk for breast cancer.
Orange vegetables and fruits are most often held up as sources of this powerful nutrient, so if you want to amp up the carotenoids in your breast cancer diet, just make sure you get lots of oranges, red, yellow, and even dark green foods.