Better Nutrition

Diet and Estrogen Levels

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Determinin­g the eff ects that specifi c foods have on breast cancer risk and protection is an active area of research, with a number of controvers­ies still unresolved. What we do know is this: The Bad

Regular alcohol use increases breast cancer risk. In an excellent literature review, 20 studies pointed to a positive connection between alcohol and breast cancer, through multiple eff ects on hormonal systems and genetic signaling. Fatty red meat has been associated with increased breast cancer, especially meats cooked at high temperatur­e. A 2008 study of more than 15,000 women found that highfat food choices were signifi cantly associated with increased cancer risk. Among other negative eff ects, fat intake increases estrogen levels. Sugar intake increases IGF- 1 ( insulin like growth factor), which is associated with increased estrogen. A 2013 study found that intake of high- fat dairy, but not lowfat dairy, was related to a higher risk of mortality after breast cancer diagnosis. The Good

Cruciferou­s vegetables, such as broccoli, caulifl ower, kale, and collards, contain a wealth of benefi cial compounds, including diindolylm­ethane ( DIM), which promotes healthy estrogen metabolism. The botanical breast health supplement BreastDefe­nd contains DIM, and has been shown in multiple studies to strategica­lly support breast health. Flaxseed facilitate­s removal of estrogens and improves the ratio of good and bad estrogens— 2: 16 alpha hydroxyest­rone ( AHE). These are metabolite­s of the parent estrogen; too much of the 16 AHE is highly stimulator­y. A high fi ber diet promotes the binding of estrogens in the colon, thus reducing estrogen exposure. Fiber also promotes healthy bacterial population­s and enhances satiety, helping to keep weight in a healthy range. Green tea is a true star in terms of its anticancer properties, with many studies on its multiple anticancer mechanisms.

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