Nutrition and Breast Health
Shari Oakland Schulze RD CSO
Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition
Saint Joseph Hospital
Good Samaritan Medical Center
Good nutrition is important for breast health. Many women gain weight due to hormonal and lifestyle changes which brings an increased risk of developing breast cancer as well as increasing risk for developing diabetes and heart disease. Set goals for yourself to eat right, focusing on the tips that can help reduce your cancer risk as well as maintain bone and heart health.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
- Staying within a healthy weight range has been shown to decrease cancer risk, not to mention decreasing risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.
- If you are overweight, even a loss of 5lbs can make a big difference in your overall health. Watch for medication related appetite surges that can cause your weight to slowly increase.
Make healthy diet changes
- Eat at least 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Fruits and vegetables are packed full of nutrients including antioxidants, Vitamin A, C, carotenes, fiber. The more colorful your plate, the better.
- Reduce the fat in your diet. Calories from fat should not exceed 25% of total calories. Choose healthy oils like canola or olive oil for heart health and avoid saturated and trans fats.
- Add fiber. Fiber helps to keep your GI function regular and increasing fiber intake reduces risk of cancers and heart disease. Choose a mix of soluble (like whole grains) and in-soluble fibers (like fruit pectin).
- Cut sweets. Too many sweets can cause increased blood sugar and insulin levels. Instead choose healthier forms of carbohydrate like brown rice, Quinoa, and whole grain cereals.
- Cut processed foods. Whole natural foods are best and have the purest forms of the nutrients your body needs. Processed foods are also high in sodium which can caused increased blood pressure.
- Drink at least 8 cups of liquids per day. Of course water is best but juices and teas are good too.
Incorporate “super” foods into diet
- Soy foods are very beneficial. Use natural whole soy food products like miso or tofu. Stay away from pill forms of soy supplements or processed soy products like soy hot dogs.
- Flaxseeds and chia seeds are packed full of the beneficial omega 3 fatty acids. Take a Tbsp of flaxseeds or chia seeds a day. Store ground seeds in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Green tea is a power packed beverage containing antioxidants.
Possible beneficial supplements to consider
- A general multivitamin.
- Vitamin D: Get at least 1000-2000 I.U. per day. Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol is the best form of vitamin D. Have your blood level of vitamin D checked to be sure you are supplementing adequately.
- Calcium supplement of 1,000 – 1,200 mg calcium per day. Calcium citrate is the most absorbable form of calcium. Divide the doses so that you consume no more than 500-600mg at a time.