Knit Goes Pink with Healthy Eating Tips to Help Reduce Your Risk for Breast Cancer

During the month of October, Knit is committed to “go pink” for National Breast Cancer Month to support awareness, provide healthy eating tips and encourage women everywhere to get tested earlier versus later. The reality is when it comes to nutrition, what you eat and don’t eat, can heavily affect your risk for breast cancer.  Diet and exercise play a huge role in preventing the risk of many diseases, cancer included. And while a healthy diet may not be a magic pill to prevent breast cancer, consistently watching what you eat can help decrease your risk for disease of all kinds. Choosing nutrient-rich foods on a regular basis can help strengthen your immune system!

Most “cancer prevention diets” boast of predominantly plant-focused eating patterns to help limit your intake of saturated fats and other cancer-causing agents. Fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, in addition to fatty fish, are rich in the nutrients you need to strengthen your body. It’s important to note, however, that lean meats and low-fat dairy foods are still encouraged and can help provide you with the protein you need on a daily basis. 

Consuming a colorful diet is ideal to help your body fight off dangerous, cancer-forming agents.  Here are 5 foods to include in your diet to help decrease your cancer risk:

  1. Broccoli: Research has shown broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, like Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage and cauliflower, to block tumor growth and slow the further spread of cancer if it does occur.
  2. Apples: An apple a day can help keep breast cancer away, but don’t peel your apple!  The skin of an apple is loaded with fiber and antioxidants, which helps fight the spread of cancer. And the best part is you don't need exotic forms of apples!  The research conducted was on everyday Gala apples that you can easily find at your grocery store.
  3. Walnuts: Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help decrease inflammation in the body. Research suggests that walnuts may actually slow the growth of breast cancer tumors, which can play a role in fighting cancer after a diagnosis. 
  4. Orange Fruits and Vegetables: Foods like cantaloupe, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and carrots (amidst others) are rich in the form of vitamin A called carotenoids.  Women who have higher levels of carotenoids in their bloodstream seem to be at a decreased risk for breast cancer. There are actually 600 different carotenoids!  Filling up on orange, red, yellow and even some dark green vegetables and fruits can help amp up your carotenoid levels.
  5. Fatty Fish: Fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna are rich in omega-3s which are anti-inflammatory as previously mentioned. Because high-fat red meat and processed meats, as well as grilled meats, are discouraged for those with cancer or those looking to prevent their risk for the disease, pan-seared or baked fish can be a great way to include lean, high quality protein in the diet. Chicken without the skin and lean cuts of red meat can also help provide high-quality protein in the diet, without added saturated fat.

Other dietary changes you can make to help decrease your cancer risk include reduce alcohol intake, limit added sugar in the diet and cut back on other more processed foods that contain saturated and trans fat. In addition, maintaining a healthy weight and participating in daily exercise or activity can also help keep your body healthy and strong.

As you shape your plate this fall, try to make one-half of it colorful fruits and vegetables, one-fourth of it a high-fiber whole grain and the other fourth a high-quality, lean protein. Remember, consistently putting the right “ingredients” in your body is a recipe for a strong, healthy, fulfilling life!


-Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD


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