Top Foods For Good Breast Health

Written by Canadian Lentils Dietitian Gloria Tsang, RD

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In addition of wearing pink, eat these foods that  help promote good breast health.

Top 5 Foods For Good Breast Health:

1. Cruciferous Veggies

Broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens all belong to this group. In addition to being high in Vitamin A and C, cruciferous vegetables are also rich in phytochemicals called indoles and sulforaphane. These antioxidants are able to help fight cancer by neutralizing toxins and carcinogens. Not only do they reduce the risk of developing breast cancer, studies also found that they may also prevent breast cancer from returning among breast cancer survivors. Cooking methods will make a difference in nutrient content. Use quick cooking methods, such as blanching for a minute, or sauteing.

Try: Browned Butter, Kale & Lentil Salad

2. Plant-Based Protein

Numerous studies found that a diet with more plant-based protein, instead of meat, are protective of breast cancer development. Protein powerhouse, lentils and legumes, are nutritional superstars in their own right. Not only are they rich in protein, but also fiber, folic, iron and an array of antioxidants. Black beans, for example, are just as high in antioxidant anthocyanins as cranberries!

Try: Zesty Taco Dip

3. Flax Seeds

Most people know that flax seeds are a good source of omega 3, good for the heart and brain. Indeed, flax seeds are also rich in lignan.  Lignan provide fibers, and is a source of antioxidant phytoestrogen. Researchers found that lignin in flax seeds shows promising results in fighting cancer, especially breast cancer.  It is thought that lignan metabolites can bind to estrogen receptors,  hence inhibiting the onset of estrogen-stimulated breast cancer. If you are to incorporate more flax seeds in your diet, it is important that you eat the actual seeds, not flaxseed oil.

Try: Lunchbox Lentil Cookies

4. Oily Fish

Oily fish helps promote good breast health for two reasons: they are high in omega 3 and vitamin D. A large-scale review revealed that omega 3 from fish have potent anti-angiogenic effects.  What that means is that they can stop blood vessels from growing within a tumor. Another cancer study showed that the higher vitamin D levels in bodies are associated with lower risk of breast cancer. To minimize exposure to mercury, choose oily fish that are lower on the food chain, such as anchovies, herring, mackerel, or sardines.

Try: Planked Salmon with Lentils

5. Tumeric

Using turmeric to treat disease isn't a new idea. In fact, turmeric has been used for centuries in the practice of traditional Chinese and Indian medicine to treat a wide variety of health concerns. But Western scientists have only begun to explore the link between cancer and turmeric in recent years. Researchers at the University of Texas Anderson Cancer Center found that in laboratory mice, turmeric’s active compound - curcumin - arrested the spread of breast cancer while also reducing the damaging toxic effects of a widely used chemotherapy drug. Although it’s still early to recommend turmeric as an active breast cancer treatment, it really doesn’t hurt to add a few more curry-based dishes to your diet!

Try: Gujarati Thali with Lentils & Basmati by Chef Michael Smith

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