Eating right can help prevent breast cancer, research shows

Published Sep 24, 2017 at 9:00am

The emphasis of Breast cancer is positive but the problem of all cancers often centers on weight and the American diet. 

The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) was founded in 1973 to support cancer research and public education relating to the prevention, early diagnosis, better treatments, and, ultimately a cure for cancer. NFCR is committed to research for a cure — cures for all types of cancer. 

Scientists are searching for better ways to treat and hopefully cure cancer. The best way to defeat cancer is to prevent it from happening. Research shows that there are some simple things each of us can do to reduce our cancer risk, such as: 

• Avoid using tobacco products;

• Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet;

• Increase the amount of fiber in your diet;

• Limit alcohol intake;

• Wear a SPF 30 or higher sunscreen;

• Maintain physical activity and healthy weight.

If you or a loved one has finished treatment, nutrition should be front and center. Chemotherapy and radiation can deplete the body of such things as fat-soluble vitamins, proteins, minerals, and glycogen. Making nutrition a priority by following these tips will allow the body to make a quicker recovery: 

• Eat three balanced meals a day with a small snack between meals;

• Have dried fruits and nuts as a healthy snack;

• Avoid snacking all day in place of meals which will lower your appetite;

• Eat home cooked meals — the smell and seeing others eat will help the appetite.

Weighing in —Obesity and cancer

Avoiding weight gain may reduce your risk of cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight is important to your well-being. The body is unable to sustain itself when underweight, but has trouble with the added demands if you’re overweight or obese.

For many Americans, modern society’s increasingly sedentary lifestyles and larger food portions have tipped the balance toward too much body weight. According to national survey data, 37 percent of adults age 60 and older fall into the obese category. Carrying too much body fat is likely to increase your risk of a number of health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.

Excess fat can also increase your risk of certain cancers, a conclusion reported in a recent review in the New England Journal of Medicine. Fat cells are metabolically active units that can initiate complex chemical interactions with far-reaching effects within the body. Fat cells produce a variety of hormones, including estrogen and leptin. When in excess, hormones may promote certain types of tumor growth. High levels of estrogen have been linked to breast and endometrial cancers, and an abundance of leptin is known to promote cell growth.

Another factor may be increased levels of insulin, in people who are obese. A high insulin level may be a trigger in a cascade of cancer-promoting changes. Elevated insulin increases circulating levels of other hormones that likely play a role in cancer development and growth. An abundance of fat cells also is associated with increased levels of pro-inflammatory proteins, and low level chronic inflammation has been linked to increased cancer risk. 

The 10 best ways to add more disease-fighting foods: 

Veg up: Add extra vegetables to soups and casseroles. Create salads using four or five different vegetables. Try fresh and frozen ready-to-use vegetables.

Eat fruit at every meal: Berries, apples, bananas, oranges, pears and dark grapes can be dessert. 

Start your day with high-fiber cereal: Try to get 5 grams or more of fiber a serving. Or sprinkle a few tablespoons or unprocessed wheat bran or a small amount of ground flaxseed over other cereals, yogurt or fruit. 

Use whole-grain breads and pastas: Don’t be fooled by wheat bread or wheat pasta. Look for the word whole — as in whole wheat or whole grain — as one of the first ingredients on the label, or look for at least 3 grams of fiber a serving. 

Eat more whole grains — Switch to brown rice, and try serving barley, bulgur or quinoa as side dishes. 

Eat more legumes — Add kidney beans to canned soup or lentils to salad. Serve veggies with black bean dip or whole-wheat pita with hummus. 

Make snacks count — Fresh fruit, raw vegetables, low-fat popcorn and whole-grain crackers will improve your daily fare. 

Go meatless — At least once a week, go without meat. 

Have fish — Put fish on the menu at least twice a week. 

Drink water several times a day — other beverages that contain water, such as plain coffee and tea, are better choices than are sugared sodas. 

Try this 1-2-3 or all of these to start the day with a good breakfast: 

1. Muesli with fruit and nuts 

An alternative to hot oatmeal, muesli makes a refreshing, healthy breakfast. Place 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats and 1/4 cup slivered almonds in microwave-safe medium bowl. Microwave at high 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, stirring once, or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Let cool.

Add 1/4 cup raisins (or other dried fruit) and 2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed; mix well. Add 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt, 4 tsp honey, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/8 tsp cinnamon; mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or for up to 4 days. To serve, divide muesli amount 4 individual bowls or jars. Top each serving with 1/4 cup fresh or frozen and thawed unsweetened fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries, peaches, or diced apple. 

2. Microwave mini frittatas 

This vegetable-filled Italian style omelet is surprisingly easy and fast. For convenience, you can use 1 cup frozen stir-fry pepper mix instead of fresh onion and red pepper, or leftover cooked vegetables. Coat two 6 oz. custard cup with cooking spray. Sprinkle each custard cup with 1 tsp Japanese-style breadcrumbs (panko), tilting to coat evenly. Heat 1 tsp olive or vegetable oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add 1/2 cup chopped onion and 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper; cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add 2 cups baby spinach; cook, stirring, until it has wilted, about 1 minute. Blend 1 whole egg and 1 egg white in a medium bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese, a dash of hot sauce, such as Tabasco, a pinch of salt, and pepper to taste.

Divide egg mixture among prepared custard cups. Place in microwave, cover with wax paper and microwave at high 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes, or until frittatas have set.

Loosen edges and tip frittatas onto plates. If you have an extra frittata, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat in microwave at high for about 1 minute, then unmold. 

3. No-Bake Breakfast Bars 

Commercial breakfast and snack bars are awash in dubious nutrition claims.

This recipe is simple to make and handy to have on hand for breakfasts or snacks on the go.

Line a 7x11 or 9x9 inch baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang along each long side.

Mix 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, 1 cup unsweetened puffed rice cereal, 1 cup dried cranberries, 1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, 1/2 cup unsalted shelled sunflower seeds and 1/4 cup chia seeds in large bowl.

Combine 3/4 cup unsalted peanut butter and 1/2 cup mild honey in small saucepan; stir over low heat until blended and smooth.

Stir in 1tsp vanilla extract. Add to oat mixture; mix well. Scrape into prepared baking dish; press firmly into an even layer.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Use foil over hang to transfer bars to a cutting board. Cut into 18 bars. Bars will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 

Enjoy the beginning of fall and keep practicing a healthy diet.