Foods and beverages you should avoid for breast cancer

Foods and beverages to prevent for breast cancer

Although some kinds of foods may help in the protection against breast cancer, others may increase your risk.

With this, it’s better to reduce the way you consume the following foods and beverages — or even avoid them totally:

  1. Alcohol: Alcohol use, especially heavy drinking, may significantly increase your risk of breast cancer.
  2. Fast food: Eating fast food regularly has many downsides, including an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and breast cancer.
  3. Fried foods: Research shows that a diet high in fried foods may significantly increase your risk of breast cancer. Indeed, in a study involving 620 Iranian women under 50 years old, fried food intake was the largest risk factor for breast cancer development.
  4. Processed meats: Processed meats like bacon and sausage may raise your risk of breast cancer. A 2018 literature review of 18 studies linked highly processed meat intake to a 9% greater breast cancer risk.
  5. Added sugar: A diet high in added sugar may significantly raise your risk of breast cancer by increasing inflammation and the expression of certain enzymes related to cancer growth and spread.
  6. Refined carbs: Diets high in refined carbs, including the typical Western diet, may increase breast cancer risk. Try replacing refined carbs like white bread and sugary baked goods with whole grain products and nutrient-dense veggies.

Soy and breast cancer

Many people also wonder whether soy products — such as tofu, soy milk, and edamame — can affect their risk of breast cancer. Research is mixed.

According to a segment of test-tube and animal studies, consuming high amounts of isoflavones, a compound found in soy, could increase the risk of breast cancer development. Isoflavones mimic the effects of estrogen.

However, studies in humans have actually found that increased soy intake is linked to a lower risk of developing breast cancer.

What’s more, soy intake may actually improve outcomes and help protect against recurrence in people diagnosed with breast cancer.

SUMMARY: To lower your risk of breast cancer, steer clear of alcohol, fast food, fried foods, processed meats, added sugar, and refined carbs. Research on soy is mixed, but human studies suggest it may protect against breast cancer.

Other lifestyle considerations

There’s no doubt that your diet can help prevent chronic diseases, including breast cancer. However, many other lifestyle choices may affect your cancer risk too.

For example, engaging in regular exercise, getting enough rest, and avoiding smoking offer significant protection against breast cancer. Maintaining a moderate body weight may also help reduce your risk.

Furthermore, some research suggests that certain skin care products may increase breast cancer risk.

For example, many moisturizers, cosmetics, and hair products contain parabens, a type of chemical that could play a role in the development of breast cancer. Parabens are considered endocrine disruptors, which means they may have a negative effect on your hormones.

Exposure to pesticides, as well as endocrine disruptors found in materials like plastic, may raise breast cancer risk too.

Thus, opting for natural skin care, gardening, and cleaning products may decrease your breast cancer risk.

SUMMARY: Making health-promoting lifestyle choices and avoiding potentially harmful chemicals in personal and household products may lower your breast cancer risk.

The bottom line

Generally, cancer risk is complex but certainly influenced by your diet. Following a nutritious diet rich in foods like leafy greens, citrus fruits, and fatty fish may help reduce breast cancer risk. It may be equally important to limit or avoid items like alcohol, highly processed meats, and sugary foods and beverages.

Keep in mind that regular medical appointments and breast cancer screenings are critical for early detection and diagnosis. Speak with a healthcare professional if you have questions about your breast cancer risk or the screening process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Consider avoiding eggs completely if you have had a reproductive cancer or are at high-risk for breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer. Limit red meat to once a week or less and avoid cooking at high temperatures.
Cruciferous vegetable-based juices: Look for juices that contain vegetables like kale, collards, bok choy, cabbage, or spinach. They’re all in the cruciferous family of vegetables and have loads of vitamin A. They also have phytonutrients, or plant-based compounds known to decrease cancer risk.
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.
About 20% of breast cancers have extra HER2 proteins. This protein makes cancers grow faster. New treatments that work by targeting HER2 have improved the outlook for women with this breast cancer subtype.
You may also want to avoid certain fruits based on your symptoms. For example, citrus fruits may irritate mouth sores and worsen the feeling of dry mouth. Lastly, whole fruits like apples, apricots, and pears are hard for some people with cancer to eat due to mouth sores, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, or nausea.
Consider avoiding eggs completely if you have had a reproductive cancer or are at high-risk for breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer. Limit red meat to once a week or less and avoid cooking at high temperatures.
Sugar doesn’t directly cause breast cancer, or any type of cancer for that matter. However, excess energy intake, particularly from processed sugars which contain no significant nutritional value, can cause weight gain and can lead to obesity. Obesity increases the risk of various cancers, including breast cancer.
Chicken and poultry consumption have been found in numerous studies to be associated with lower risk of breast cancer, although not all published research is consistent on this point. Consumption of white meat was associated with lower breast density, a strong breast cancer risk factor, in one study.
Research also suggests that diets high in calcium may decrease the risk of pre and postmenopausal breast cancer. Components in milk products, namely calcium, vitamin D, lactoferrin and milk fat appear to have anti-cancer effects.
Most research on the topic shows that coffee does not raise your risk of breast cancer. And for women who are post-menopausal, research has been even more promising, showing a link between coffee drinking and breast cancer risk reduction.
Citrus fruit, like grapefruits and oranges, may have a role in preventing certain cancers. One large study in Japan found that people who had citrus fruits or juices 3-4 days a week were less likely to get cancer than those who had them 2 or fewer days a week.
Based on the available evidence, modest dark chocolate consumption (up to two ounces per day) appears to be safe for most breast cancer patients and survivors.
Honey has potential use in ‘cancer therapy’, Recent studies on human breast (Fauzi et al., 2011), cervical (Fauzi et al., 2011), oral (Ghashm et al., 2010) and osteocarcoma (Ghashm et al., 2010) cancer cell lines using Malaysian jungle Tualang honey showed significant anticancer activity.
Women who ate higher amounts of yogurt and cottage/ricotta cheese had a modestly lower risk of developing ER-negative breast cancer. These results were not found in studies with women in Canada or the US. The reduced risk was only found in the cohort studies from Australia, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, and Sweden.
Breast cancer-related effects of eating brown rice. In addition, rice has been shown to reduce colony formation of triple negative (ER-/PR-/HER2-) breast cancer cells. The anthocyanins and melatonin found in black, purple and red rice have additional chemopreventive properties.
Breast Cancer Study. A 2015 study found that a high consumption of nuts, including peanuts, was associated with 2-3 times reduced risk of breast cancer. This study was published in Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation and compared 97 breast cancer cases to 102 normal cases in Mexico.
The consumption of chocolate with a greater cocoa content may contribute to the improvement of the nutritional status and functionality among older cancer patients in palliative care. The consumption of white chocolate was associated with improved oxidative stress.
Breast cancer-related effects of eating strawberries. Berry consumption is associated with reduced breast cancer risk. Strawberries are a source of a variety of compounds with anti-cancer activities, including micronutrients that have been shown to increase the beneficial effects of breast cancer treatment.
The sugars which actually feed your cancer cells are the refined sugars, brown sugar, corn syrup, or white sugar, which have the cancer cells to grow, but not fruit sugar. In fact, fruit sugar helps your cancer cells to shrink because of its high fiber and vitamin and mineral density,” says Neha Ranglani.
Honey modulates estrogen by its antagonistic action. It may be useful in estrogen-dependent cancers such as breasts and endometrial cancers [17]. Estrogen receptors tie to estrogens to dimerize and then translocate into the nuclei.
Breast cancer-related effects of eating oats. High intake of oats and dietary fiber have both been found to be associated with reduced risk of breast cancer. Oats are not estrogenic. Oat avenanthramides have been reported to have anti-breast cancer activities.
The American Cancer Society recommends eating at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day, limiting red and processed meats, and choosing whole-grain instead of refined-grain foods. A healthy breakfast focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean proteins.
Key nutrients. Avocados are a good source of healthy fats as well as other important nutrients that help maintain overall health. Some of these nutritional elements have been shown to be helpful in reducing breast cancer risk. “Olive oil and avocados are foods with high levels of monounsaturated fats.
Research suggests that curcumin found in turmeric can have a lot of healthy benefits, including the potential to fight or even prevent breast cancer and other cancers.

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