Every October, we celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a chance to honor our friends and relatives who have battled breast cancer as well as to create hope about how to prevent breast cancer. Nutrition professionals play an important role in educating everyone about prevention because of the strong connection between food choices and breast cancer.
In fact, many nutrition professionals devote their entire careers to working with cancer prevention, including positions in non-profit agencies, cancer research labs, and the offices of primary care doctors. Check out these 5 steps for planning your nutrition science career.
Lifestyle Habits Help Women Prevent Breast Cancer
There is evidence that eating plenty of plant foods and getting daily physical activity lowers a woman’s risk for breast cancer. In a previous blog, I covered the ins-and-outs of leading a vegetarian lifestyle so reading it will give you some practical tips. The preventative qualities of plant foods come from several factors such as their fiber, antioxidants, and other assorted phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are natural plant substances that are present in teeny, tiny amounts in all plant foods, whether vegetable, fruit, grain, nut, or seed. So, going ‘heavy’ on plant foods as you plan your meals and snacks is a smart approach.
Becoming more physically active is super smart, too, because it will put a woman at a 10-20% lower risk for a diagnosis of breast cancer. Try to achieve 250 minutes of active movement in one week, every week.
7 Food Tips to Lower a Woman’s Risk for Breast Cancer
- Make colorful meals with red, orange, and green veggies
- Enjoy more fresh or frozen fish and fewer processed meats
- Coat your chicken or fish with nut crumbs, like walnut or almond, then bake
- Add in a huge handful of fresh chopped parsley or cilantro to a pot of soup or stew
- Have a daily green salad with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil
- Eat whole grain foods every day, like oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa
- Make a sweet piece of fruit your dessert
9 Physical Activity Tips to Lower a Woman’s Risk for Breast Cancer
- Always choose the stairs rather than the elevator
- Walk, roller blade, or bike instead of driving
- Park your car farther away from the store and walk to-and-from
- Take a brisk walk with your dog often
- Take advantage of your lunch break to walk with a friend
- Plan active vacations like hiking in the mountains or biking at the beach
- Keep track of your daily steps and increase them when you can
- Use a stationary bicycle or treadmill while watching TV to pass the time
- Join a walking club, dance class, or yoga studio
Resources to Help Prevent Breast Cancer
Knowing your resources creates a path to quality information and options for breast cancer prevention. Here are a few great resources to preview:
Cancer Dietitian is a website & blog from a registered dietitian who works helping her community’s cancer patients and survivors.
AICR Hotline is from the American Institute for Cancer Research. Phone or email your breast cancer prevention questions to their experts who will put you in contact with specialized registered dietitians.
National Breast Cancer Foundation is a website with facts to help women do monthly BSE, breast self exam, and other early detection techniques, and much more.
Susan G. Komen is a website with a wealth of statistics, facts, hope, and more.
Is a nutrition science career in cancer prevention and education right for you?