October is breast cancer awareness month and here at The Insider UAE we are dedicated to supporting this worthy cause not just for the month of October but all year around.
This month along with the knowledge of experienced dietican at the Health Factory, Divya Samant we take a look into the top super foods along with antioxidant rich foods you can add to your diet to help you in the fight against breast cancer.
Breast Cancer is a kind of cancer that develops from an abnormal growth of the breast cells. The cells undergo what is referred to as a mutation and gain the ability to keep dividing without control or order, producing more cells and thus forming a tumour.
Although not all tumours are cancerous, malignant ones are and left unchecked these malignant cells can eventually spread beyond the original tumour to other parts of the body.
Cancer (all types) is the third leading cause of death in the UAE after cardiovascular diseases and accidential deaths. Data from the UAE Ministry of Health indicate that cancer accounts for approximately 500 deaths a year. Some might say a small figure compared to other countries.
Before we delve into foods to incorporate into your diet, note these important facts about breast cancer:
- Every 1.7 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer worldwide.
- There are about 2.6 million female survivors of breast cancer in the world
- 27% survival rate in advanced stage
- 98% survival rate in early detection
- 25% of women with breast cancer are less than 50 years old
- About 2 to 4 of every 1000 mammograms lead to a diagnosis of breast cancer.
- 70% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no identifiable risk factor for the disease
* Information taken from TAKE A PINK PLEDGE TO FIGHT BREAST CANCER- educational booklet -Dubai Health Authority
There has been much speculation but it has been proven that adopting the right eating plan and getting regular exercise can lower your risk of breast cancer. Although, we do not yet have a cure little steps to aid your health such as a careful grocery shopping list can all help in the anti-cancer nutrition plan.
So what should you look out for on the shelves?
We are all aware that green tea is good for us but studies have shown the green tea components suppress the development and recurrance of breast cancer. Like many plant-based foods, tea contains favonoids, known for their antioxidant effects. One flavonoid in particular,kaempferol, has shown protective effects against cancer. Kaempeferol is also found in leek, garlic and onion. Green tea is thus widely used in breast cancer prevention and therapy.
Given the title of one of the world’s best super foods, sprouts may have unique health benefits in the area of DNA protection as one cup of cooked Brussels sprouts contains just 56 calories but is packed with more than 240 percent of the recommended daily amount (RDA) for vitamin K1, and nearly 130 percent of the RDA for vitamin C. Plus, Brussels sprouts are a good source of fiber, manganese, potassium, choline, and B vitamins. They even contain protein. What is perhaps most exciting about Brussels sprouts, however, isn’t only their incredible array of nutrients it’s their antioxidants and other phytochemicals, which have been proven to fight chronic diseases, including cancer. Brussel sprouts are also a rich source of folate. When someone has low levels of folate, it’s more likely for mutations in DNA to occur thus leading to cancer.
Still with green vegetables, studies have proved that broccoli is one of the best cancer prevention foods. Sulforaphane- a compound found in broccoli- reduced the number of breast cancer stem cells (which cause cancer to spread and recurr) in mice, according to research by the University of Michigan. Eating broccoli may not deliver enough sulforaphane to achieve the same effect, but to get the most you can, eat broccoli raw or briefly steam or stir-fry the florets to keep the nutirents.
Flaxseeds are the richest source of plant lignans, having about 3 times the lignan content of chia seeds and 8 times the lignan content of sesame seeds. Milled flaxseed has lignans which may decrease the cancer growth making it perfect for a breast cancer management diet. Flaxseeds can be sprinkled on salads and can be mixed with sandwich spreads. Flax seeds oil do not contain lignans.
Salmon contains the marine fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which have chemopreventative properties. A study found that DHA increased survival times for almost half of a group of stage IV breast cancer patients
Walnuts are one of the few vegetarian and vegan sources of super anti-inflammatory Omega 3 Fatty Acids. These wonder nuts also have phytosterols. This composition gives them anti-inflammatory properties and studies show this may give them their tumour-fighting potential.
Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) rank among the highest of all fruits and vegetables in their capacity to destroy free radicals. Blueberries are rich in resveratrol, which in particular, plays a role in breast cancer management by enhancing the effect of the often-prescribed drug tamoxifen in fighting breast cancer cells.
So, although these foods do not claim to cure or even fully prevent, introducing them into your diet can aid in prevention and management of breast cancer.
For more information on Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Awareness Month please visit http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-awareness-month