October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and although the campaign runs a full month, there are steps we can take every day of the year to improve our health. What we choose to eat can, in many ways, have a direct effect on our health. And eating foods that support breast health is something we can incorporate into our daily routine.
Fruits and vegetables contain powerful phytochemicals that are good for breast health. Carotenoids are abundant in dark green and orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, yams, and spinach. When purchasing them at the store, make sure they're organic to avoid pesticides.
- Cruciferous vegetables are especially good and supportive of breast health. Examples of these vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
- Lycopenes have potent antioxidant properties and certainly have a supportive role. Foods high in lycopene include tomatoes, red bell peppers, watermelon, and grapefruit.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are a good source of lignans, which are beneficial for breast health. Some of the fish highest in omega-3s include sardines, salmon, tuna, mackerel, and halibut. Smaller amounts of lignans are also found in flaxseeds, which can be purchased ground and sprinkled over yogurt, oatmeal, or salads. Flaxseed oil can also be used in salad dressing.
- Fiber-rich foods can also benefit breast health by sweeping away toxins. The fruits with the highest fiber content are raspberries, pears, and apples with the skin on. Organic is recommended. Vegetables highest in fiber are green peas, broccoli, and turnip greens. The highest fiber beans are split peas, lentils, and black beans.
BREAST HEALTH DIET EXAMPLE
- 6 oz. cup of plain, fat-free Greek yogurt
- Fresh raspberries, stirred in
- 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseeds, sprinkled on top
- Spinach salad with sliced tomatoes, carrots, and red bell peppers
- 4 oz. of canned tuna (labeled low or no mercury)
- For the dressing, mix together 1 Tbsp. of flaxseed oil and 1 Tbsp. of Olive Your Heart®, lemon flavored omega-3 olive oil
- 5 oz. of baked salmon
- Steamed broccoli drizzled with flaxseed oil or Olive Your Heart®, (both only after cooking)
- ½ cup of cooked quinoa (which has more fiber than rice!)
- Sliced organic apple with 1 Tbsp. of almond butter
- Small cup of lentil bean soup
- Smoothie using any milk or milk alternative
- 1 cup frozen red raspberries
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 small banana