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Your Risk of Breast Cancer Is Affected by Your Eating and Drinking Habits

Let's be clear right away: Numerous studies have shown that no one diet may either prevent or cause breast cancer.

As the director of breast medical oncology at New Jersey's Valley-Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Care and a board-certified medical oncologist, Dr. Eleonora Teplinsky stated, "Using this terminology produces a lot of patient guilt and humiliation." "I like to frame the conversation around risk mitigation."

There is proof that lifestyle decisions can affect the likelihood of developing cancer, as Teplinsky implies. A good diet, regular exercise, and moderate alcohol use have all been demonstrated to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.

What kind of diet is best for people who are at risk of breast cancer?
Dr. Polly Niravath, a board-certified oncologist at Houston Methodist Neal Cancer Center, stated that "the research has clearly proven that being overweight provides a greater risk for breast cancer." As a result, I usually advise eating a diet high in lean meats, fruits, and vegetables. She also advises avoiding packaged foods with a lot of sugar.

Teplinsky pointed out that the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiproliferative qualities of plant-based and Mediterranean diets may aid in reducing the formation of cancer cells. She said that they "may also lessen DNA damage, resulting in a lower risk of cancer."

Dr. Thomas Strack, chief medical officer of Faeth Therapeutics, a cancer treatment firm that uses diet as a medicine, claims that increased production of estrogen and insulin has been linked to the emergence of breast cancer. Therefore, Strack added, diets rich in foods that lower those hormone levels, like the Mediterranean diet, may aid in halting the progression of the disease.

Strack stated that increasing consumption of high-fiber foods, foods containing polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as olive or fish oil, fruits, and vegetables may play a protective role by lowering levels of hormones like estrogen and insulin as well as elements that contribute to chronic inflammation.

Numerous medical investigations have verified the theory that having excess body fat raises the risk of breast cancer.

According to a 2004 research titled "Does food impact breast cancer risk?" by Michelle Holmes and Walter Willett, weight gain throughout middle age significantly increases the chance of developing breast cancer. Strong evidence is already in place that preventing weight gain during adulthood can lower the risk of breast cancer.

Are certain culinary techniques riskier than others?
Although no specific meal or ingredient has been connected to the onset of breast cancer, scientists suggest how we prepare our food may have an influence on the risk to our health.

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Niravath asserted that "charring food does make it carcinogenic." Charring meat, poultry, or fish may result in the development of heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, which are known carcinogens that have the potential to cause cancer, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. Amino acids and creatine react at high cooking temperatures to produce HCAs.

A word of caution: Don't char your meal. Consider marinating your proteins in advance and cooking them for a longer period of time on low or indirect heat.

The soybean myth
Reports about soy's unfavorable effects on diet in general and its probable connection to cancer have been circulating for decades. However, eating soy does not really increase your chance of developing breast cancer.

The American Cancer Society stated on its website that "some of the misconceptions originate from the fact that research in people and studies in animals may reveal different outcomes." "Rodents treated to high doses of isoflavones, substances present in soy, in certain animal tests shown an elevated risk of breast cancer. This is believed to be the case because the isoflavones in soy have the ability to mimic the effects of estrogen in the body, and elevated estrogen has been associated to a number of breast cancer forms.

However, rats metabolize soy differently than humans, which is why identical outcomes in human research have not been observed.

The American Cancer Society stated that "in human studies, the estrogen effects of soy either seem to have no impact at all, or to lower breast cancer risk" (particularly in Asian nations, where lifetime consumption is higher than in the U.S.). This may be due to the fact that isoflavones have the ability to inhibit blood levels of stronger natural estrogens.

Soy is no longer regarded as a "risky" diet for people with breast cancer, according to Strack.

In contrast, soy has a variety of nutrients that lessen inflammation and support a healthy metabolism, counteracting any possible harm from plant hormones that act like estrogen, according to Strack.

Does drinking alcohol raise the chance of getting breast cancer?
Overall, research indicates that excessive alcohol use may in fact raise the risk of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society claims that alcohol can increase estrogen levels, which helps breast tissue grow and thrive.

© 2022 Christian Daniel

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