October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which has been observed for over 25 years. And certainly, building awareness is vital, since American women have a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer during their lifetime.

How can you make sure you’re not that 1 in 8? The key is to incorporate as many risk reduction strategies as possible. After all, prevention is still the only cancer “cure.” Fortunately, there are many natural ways to lower your odds, starting with what you select at mealtime. For example:

Consume a rainbow─daily

Fresh fruits and veggies are formidable allies against breast cancer. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower get top billing, as do dark leafy greens like spinach and kale. Power fruits include all berries, dark cherries and apples. If you don’t eat large amounts of these foods, how about some intensely concentrated versions of super green foods and/or power berries you can add to your morning protein shake? Protect yourself daily!

Delete “Bad” Fats

While many studies indicate that a diet high in fat─especially saturated─may increase breast cancer risk, 1,2 trans fats are also implicated. While these manufactured fats extend the shelf life of the products that contain them─like most processed/refined/commercial baked goods and snacks─they certainly don’t extend your health. Avoid them for a trimmer waistline, improved wellness, and a reduced risk of breast cancer.3

Boost your Antioxidants

By now you may know that antioxidants are nutrients that help prevent potentially cancer-causing free radical damage to your cells. Key players include vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, alpha lipoic acid, and more. While fresh produce contains these cancer fighters, unless you eat a daily bushel, incorporate a high-quality multi-antioxidant supplement to maintain a protective shield.

Embrace Fish Oil

If you’re already supplementing daily fish oil for cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, or depression─all of which may be prevented and/or improved by this omega-3 rich fat─you’ll be glad to know that it’s also a fierce ally when it comes to breast cancer prevention, as well as cancers of the colon and prostate.4 One study noted that fish oil impairs growth/induces cancer cell death in breast as well as colon, prostate and even pancreatic cancer.5

Curtail the cocktails

Alcohol consumption is the most well established dietary risk factor for breast cancer of all. The Harvard Nurses’ Health study, along with several others, has shown that more than one alcoholic beverage a day can increase breast cancer risk by up to 25%. Another study noted that even moderate alcohol consumption increases breast cancer risk, especially after age 30.6

Which of these proven prevention tactics can you incorporate right now? The more, the better. Why not defy breast cancer?

References
1 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, (2007) 99(6):451-462.
2 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, (2003) 95(14): 1079-1085.
3 Eur J Cancer Prev. 2011 Nov;20(6):530-538
4 Pharmacol Ther. 1999 Sep;83(3):217-44
5 Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2009 May;9(4):457-70
6 J Natl Cancer Inst. 1995 Jun 21;87(12):923-9

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