Eat Smart! Healthy eating and breast cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. This pink ribbon effort puts the focus on education and fundraising events to find a cure.

Breast cancer is the fifth leading cause of death in women according to the CDC. No food can prevent you from getting breast cancer, but a healthy diet can boost your immune system and help keep your risk as low as possible. Some research studies have focused on food and its relationship to breast cancer. Here are a few findings.

Alcohol: Women drinking five or more drinks a week were linked to a higher risk of breast cancer than those who don’t drink, according to an American Cancer Society study. They recommend not drinking alcohol if you are in a high risk cancer group.

Antioxidants: Study after study suggests antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables may lower risk of cancers, including breast cancer.

Weight gain: Women who gain between 21 to 30 pounds after age 18 have a 40 percent increase in risk of breast cancer, even if they were not at a perfect weight when younger. The reason is tied to the rise of overall body fat which results in increased insulin and estrogen levels, both of which have been linked to breast cancer.

The American Cancer Society recommends an overall healthy diet of fruits and vegetables (five or more servings a day), whole grains and limited amounts of processed and red meats. And, of course, exercise. Check last Monday’s Move Smart! for more information about how walking can reduce the risk of breast cancer.

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