Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk: The Natural Methods Supported By Science


Cancer. One of the scariest words out there in this day and age. For those with a high risk of breast cancer, whether it be due to genetics or other risk factors, every doctor’s visit, blood test or mammogram can be nerve-wracking. It’s easy to feel powerless, that cancer is inevitable. Many women will opt for surgery in order to reduce their risk.

But the good news is, there is more and more research to support simple, natural ways to significantly reduce your risk of breast cancer. Incorporating these strategies into your daily routine will drop your likelihood of breast cancer significantly.

Sip A Cup Of Green Tea

Green tea – is there anything it can’t do? Well research suggests it could have a role in prevention and treatment of breast cancer, thanks to its Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor, or VEGF, inhibiting properties. Green tea is packed full of antioxidants, so can help your body fight against all cancers, including breast. Research suggests that regular green tea consumption is associated with reduced breast cancer risk.

Find your tea is too bitter? Try using cooler water to brew it, and only leave the tea in the water for 2 minutes. This will reduce the bitterness from the tannins in your tea, so it will have a more subtle flavour.

Get Your Sunshine On

Sunshine is never a guarantee for those of us in Melbourne. But when it’s here, it packs a cancer-fighting punch thanks to the vitamin D it helps us to produce. Research showed that serum vitamin D levels of 130nmol/L was associated with a 50% lower risk than those with <32.5nmol/L. Given that over 30% of Aussies are deficient in vitamin D (<75nmol/L), this is a simple change that could have a huge impact.

Struggling to find time in the sun? Vitamin D is present in small amounts in foods such as dairy and oily fish, but your best option is a supplement – consult your nutritionist to find your perfect product and dose.

Get Your Body Moving

Exercise can be hard to squeeze into the day, between work, family, friends and chores. But the numbers are in – exercise can kick your risk to the curb. Women aged 35 years who engage in regular strenuous exercise saw a risk reduction of 14%, with similar effects observed for women aged 18 years and 50 years. 1.25-2.5 hours of brisk walking per week saw a decrease in risk of 18% compared to inactivity. Good news – even if you’re inactive now, you can get moving to reduce your likelihood – further research showed that exercise begun in adulthood still has a protective effect.

Loathe the gym? Exercise doesn’t have to make you miserable. Fun options like dance classes, walks with friends, boxing, martial arts and playing on the playground all count when it comes to prevention.

Pack In The Fruit & Veg

We all know that fruit and veg is good for us, but in a very vague and unmotivating way. But when it comes to breast cancer, the statistics are there. Research showed that greater than 500g of vegetables per day had a whopping 72% reduction of risk compared to <210g per day. Fruit also had a big impact, with 300g of fruit per day having 47% reduction of risk compared to <99g per day. This is likely to due to the high antioxidant content of fruit and vegetables, which are shown to help combat cancer.

Hate salads? There’s plenty of easy ways to sneak veg into your foods. Pasta sauces can hide carrot, zucchini and mushrooms. Smoothies can hide a cup of greens when blended with a piece of fruit and some yoghurt or milk. Even sweet treats like cakes can include beetroot, sweet potato or zucchini to keep it moist and sweet – yum!

Soy: The Debate

Soy is a hot topic when it comes to breast cancer. Does it prevent it? Does it contribute to it? The evidence varies.

Some research shows that soy is protective when exposure began at a young age, such as in Asian cultures. Others show that one of the phytoestrogens in soy can stimulate breast cancer cell growth – definitely not what we want.

So which way to go? Unless you were raised with soy, your safest bet is to enjoy small amounts of fermented soy products, such as tempeh, tamari sauce, miso and natto. Try to avoid regular amounts of unfermented soy, such as the soy flour that is added to many processed foods.

As always, a personalized plan for your biochemical individuality is your best bet, whether you are looking to prevent cancer or if you currently have cancer. Please consult a health practitioner who is willing to work with your GP for the best outcome.

Supporting Research Links

http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=200149

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/131/11/2957.full

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/133/7/2425S.long

http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=197257

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/132/8/2307.long

http://carcin.oxfordjournals.org/content/28/5/1074.full

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.11259/full

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2265.2011.04320.x/full

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2363839/pdf/84-6691671a.pdf

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.24358/full

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/71/6/1705s.full

Samantha Gemmell

A qualified nutritionist (BHSc), health writer and wellness speaker, Sam has a passion for sharing knowledge with women so that they can live inspiring, thriving lives.

As a nutritionist, she works with her clientsto create an individualized plan that suits their biochemistry, lifestyle, budget and goals.

As a health writer, she pens engaging articles, e-books and e-courses for passionate health professionals and wellness companies across the globe.
You can learn more about her work and passions at www.samanthagemmell.com

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