Re­duce your risk with these 7 can­cer- fight­ing foods

Better Nutrition - - CONTENTS - BY LISA TURNER

Eat to Beat Breast Can­cer Re­duce your risk with these seven breast- pro­tec­tive foods.

About one in eight Amer­i­can women will de­velop in­va­sive breast can­cer over the course of her life­time, and breast can­cer death rates are higher than those for any can­cer, other than lung can­cer. The good news: be­cause it's one of the most- stud­ied forms of can­cer, re­search has pointed out dozens of di­etary fac­tors and foods that can re­duce your risk. Seven of the best:

Car­rots are high in carotenoids— an­tiox­i­dants such as beta carotene and al­pha carotene— that pro­tect against breast can­cer. In one large study, women with the high­est blood lev­els of carotenoids had an 18– 28 per­cent lower risk of breast can­cer. Other foods rich in carotenoids in­clude mango, pa­paya, sweet po­ta­toes, pump­kin, and leafy greens. Try this: Shred car­rots and toss with cur­rants, pis­ta­chios, and rose­wa­ter for a Mid­dle Eastern car­rot salad; purŽe roasted car­rots with chick­peas, gar­lic, and olive oil for a twist on hum­mus; toss baby car­rots and cau­li­flower flo­rets in melted co­conut oil, roast till ten­der, and shower with minced pars­ley.

Flax seeds con­tain com­pounds called lig­nans, phy­toe­stro­gens that can change es­tro­gen me­tab­o­lism. In post­menopausal women, lig­nans can cause the body to pro­duce less ac­tive forms of es­tro­gen, which helps re­duce breast can­cer risk. Flax seeds are also rich in al­pha- linolenic acid, a type of omega- 3 fat that has been shown to sup­press the growth, size, and pro­lif­er­a­tion of can­cer cells and to pro­mote breast can­cer cell death. Pump­kin seeds, sun­flower seeds, oats, bar­ley, beans, and berries also con­tain lig­nans. Try this: Com­bine ground flax seeds with minced rose­mary, gar­lic pow­der, and wa­ter, roll thin, cut into squares, and bake as sa­vory crack­ers; stir ground flax seeds, chopped wal­nuts, and blue­ber­ries into oat­meal for a power- packed break­fast; purŽe ground flax, co­coa pow­der, in­stant espresso, and yo­gurt for a healthy mocha smoothie.

Red onions are high in organosul­fur com­pounds, which block tu­mor growth in breast and other can­cers. Other foods rich in organosul­fur com­pounds in­clude yel­low onions, gar­lic, leeks, shal­lots, and chives. Red onions also con­tain quercetin and an­tho­cyanin— re­spon­si­ble for the red color— which also pro­tect against breast can­cer. Try this: SautŽ red onions, shaved Brussels sprouts, and mush­rooms in olive oil; halve red onions, driz­zle with a mix­ture of melted co­conut oil, honey, and bal­samic vine­gar, and roast un­til ten­der; thinly slice red onions, pack in a jar, and cover with ap­ple cider vine­gar for quick pick­les.

Arugula is loaded with can­cer- pre­ven­tive com­pounds, es­pe­cially glu­cosi­no­lates, a group of sul­fur- con­tain­ing chem­i­cals that are re­spon­si­ble for the pun­gent, bit­ter taste of cru­cifers. Glu­cosi­no­lates are bro­ken down by the body into isoth­io­cyanates and in­doles, com­pounds that have been shown to in­hibit the devel­op­ment of can­cer cells and pro­mote can­cer cell death. One study found that women who ate more cru­cifers, in­clud­ing arugula, kale, radishes, broc­coli, and cab­bage, had a lower risk of breast can­cer. Try this: PurŽe arugula, basil, and spinach with cashews, olive oil, and gar­lic for a spicy pesto; toss baby arugula leaves with diced pears, chopped pecans, and crum­bled blue cheese, and driz­zle with olive oil; sautŽ arugula, es­ca­role, radic­chio, and shal­lots, and top with a poached egg.

Green tea is rich in polyphe­nols, es­pe­cially epi­gal­lo­cat­e­chin gal­late ( EGCG), a pow­er­ful com­pound that's been shown to strengthen im­mu­nity, pre­vent can­cer cell growth, and in­duce can­cer cell apop­to­sis ( cell death). In one study of 1,009 women, green tea con­sump­tion was as­so­ci­ated with a re­duced risk of breast can­cer. EGCG is found pri­mar­ily in green tea, but rasp­ber­ries, peaches, straw­ber­ries, onions, and av­o­ca­dos also con­tain trace amounts. Try this: Add matcha green tea pow­der and honey to hot al­mond milk for a creamy green tea latte; sim­mer fish in a broth of green tea and sliced ginger; com­bine matcha green tea pow­der and al­mond flour, and use as a base for grain- free pan­cakes.

Tuna is high in EPA and DHA, omega- 3 fats that re­duce in­flam­ma­tion, pro­tect against the devel­op­ment of breast can­cer, and pro­mote can­cer cell apop­to­sis. Salmon, sar­dines, her­ring, and mack­erel are also high in EPA and DHA. And be­cause stud­ies have found a link be­tween red meat, pro­cessed meat, and in­creased risk of breast can­cer, fish may be a bet­ter choice than red meat for hearty meals. Try this: Toss cooked whole- grain pasta with canned tuna, Kala­mata olives, halved cherry toma­toes, and pesto; lightly sear thinly sliced fresh tuna and layer over sautŽed greens; mix canned tuna with white beans, chopped arugula, and minced red onions for a pro­tein- rich salad.

Broc­coli sprouts, baby broc­coli plants that re­sem­ble al­falfa sprouts, con­tain ex­tremely high lev­els of sul­foraphane, a sul­fur- con­tain­ing com­pound re­lated to those in red onions. Stud­ies show that sul­foraphane can in­hibit breast can­cer cell growth and in­duce apop­to­sis of breast can­cer cells. They're also high in fiber, which may pro­tect against breast can­cer by al­ter­ing hor­monal ac­tions. Other foods high in sul­foraphane in­clude broc­coli, cab­bage, Brussels sprouts, kale, and other cru­cifers. Try this: Spread mashed av­o­cado on toast and layer with broc­coli sprouts, red pep­per slices, and olives for an easy break­fast or snack; blend broc­coli sprouts, bananas, pineap­ple, and co­conut milk into a creamy smoothie; toss cooked soba noo­dles with broc­coli sprouts, sautéed car­rots and onions, sesame oil, tamari, and black sesame seeds.

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