We all worry about what we’re putting in our bodies. However, the rush of daily life so often gets in the way. However, when it comes to cancer, patients must engage with these decisions in a whole new way. It’s no longer a question of a healthy weight or ultimate longevity in the far-off future. When you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, your diet becomes one of the few fighting tools you still have control over. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective breast cancer fighting foods.
Breast Cancer – A Personal Story from Amber
Amber was ten years old when her mother was initially diagnosed with breast cancer. It wasn’t even her first run-in with “the big C,” as she’d been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma almost twenty years prior. Even so, it was different the second time around. She wasn’t a lonely teenager anymore, living on her own. At her second cancer diagnosis, she was 34, young for a breast cancer patient. She had three little girls. Amber’s little sisters were all of three and five years old at the time, hardly more than babies.
That was the hardest part for her, explaining cancer to those tiny little girls. She ultimately allowed Amber’s father to do most of the talking. She kept trying to get the words out, but she had to keep stopping. It was as if she’d lost control of so many parts of her life too quickly.
Amber’s family needed to feel as though they could still make their own choices separate from that cancer made for them. The one choice they made that night was to laugh. It may seem callous. Amber reminisces, “You’d have to know the set of bizarrely macabre individuals that I call family to understand that likening my mother’s upcoming radical, double mastectomy to her morphing into the wife of Frankenstein’s monster was hilariously funny at the time. Laughing was our only way to avoid crying. The second choice we made was to fight in every, single way we could.”
Breast Cancer Fighting Foods
Diet and exercise are both vital to maintaining our overall health. When you have cancer, diet and exercise become key to your immediate survival. Fortunately, scientists in recent years have made progress. They have devoted considerable effort to identifying what food sources give you the best chance for beating back the beast. As a result of all their work, we know three key attributes to look for in certain breast cancer fighting foods.
- Antioxidants. You’ve probably heard that antioxidants help your body reduce the presence of free radicals in your system. However, you may not know exactly what that means or how it relates the cancer-fighting foods. The Pharmacognosy Review notes that your body actually does need a balance of antioxidants and free radicals to maintain “proper physiological function.” A lack of balance causes a condition called oxidative stress, which can alter the structure of lipids (natural fat cells in your body), proteins, and even DNA. These alterations make your system an easier target for a plethora of diseases, including cancer. Fortunately, natural sources of antioxidants are in a variety of foods. Teton Hospital lists kidney beans, blueberries, and even russet potatoes in their list of the top 20 sources of naturally-occurring antioxidants.
- Fiber. Surprisingly, one of the best preventatives to cancer is proper waste management. This can include free radicals, but can also be applied to waste estrogen as well as a wide variety of other toxins. As a result, a good helping of dietary fiber is another way you can prevent cancer. This also helps to slow its progression. Medical News Today’s professionally reviewed article notes that fiber doesn’t just keep you regular, it also bonds with excess estrogen, preventing it from coming into contact with the body. You can find strong sources of dietary fiber in whole grains, legumes (such as beans), and most fruits and vegetables. Recent research by Johns Hopkins suggests that broccoli sprouts may be your ultimate bet.
- Omega 3 Fats. These healthy fats are primarily found in cold-water fish, such as salmon, and their track record is pretty impressive. One study found a 20 to 35% decrease in cancer risk in subjects who consumed a significant level (8-25% of caloric intake) of omega 3s. The reason behind the success of omega 3 fats is presumably their anti-inflammatory properties. Fortunately, if you aren’t a fan of fish, both turmeric and cinnamon have similar anti-inflammatory abilities and can be easily mixed into your favorite entrées and desserts.
You Can’t Do This Alone (And that’s ok)
As much as we wish we could tell you that eating the right diet could make it all go away, we can’t. Breast cancer fighting foods make up one positive step on a long journey. The truth is, if you have breast cancer, then surgery and chemotherapy are most likely already on your to-do list. At the Breast Health Institute in Houston, Dr. Darlene M. Miltenburg knows exactly what you’re going through and can take you through the steps to reclaim control over your body as you take definitive steps toward health and eventual recovery.