Common Foods Everyone With Breast Cancer Should Eat

A breast cancer diagnosis is always terrifying and can leave you feeling powerless and afraid. And, while there are some things that are out of your control, there are also things you can do to help your body heal. Just like with any other illness or disease, your diet matters–a lot.

While there is no single food that causes or prevents breast cancer, there are healthy foods you can add to your diet that may not only aid in your recovery, but prevent the cancer from returning. Consider these foods your breast cancer-fighters.

Pump up the plant consumption

various of fresh vegetables

Make sure you eat enough healthy vegetables. | iStock.com/vicuschka

A study of over 91,000 women found that following a diet that consists mostly of plants could cut the risk of developing breast cancer by up to 15%. And while following a plant based diet offers a host of health benefits, eating fruits and vegetables rich in flavonoids and carotenoids are especially beneficial. These fruits and veggies have specific cancer preventing properties.

Next: Eat your greens.

 Leafy green vegetables

Fresh spinach

Spinach is a great source of healthy vitamins and minerals. | iStock.com/dionisvero

Dark leafy greens are full of carotenoids, folate, chlorophyll, and many other beneficial nutrients. They’re wonderful sources of vitamins, minerals, iron, and calcium, not to mention the dozens of antioxidants that battle and remove free radicals from your body. Spinach, kale, arugula, and other leafy greens are essential for maintaining your overall health, not to mention battling breast cancer.

Next: An apple a day …

Apples

fresh apples in wicker basket on wooden table

This fruit shouldn’t be difficult to incorporate into your diet. | YelenaYemchuk/iStock/Getty Images

There might be something to that saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients necessary for keeping cancer at bay. Eat them often.

Next: This veggie may slow tumor growth.

Broccoli

Broccoli in pan on wood kitchen table

Broccoli may be more important than you think. | iStock.com/phasinphoto

Broccoli might actually be the most important food in your diet if you have breast cancer. Research has shown that it can block tumor growth, preventing cancer from spreading further. Other cruciferous veggies (like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts) also have this property.

Next: Learn to love grains.

Whole grains

farmer's hands full of grain

Whole grains should be eaten regularly. | iStock.com/Nastco

Whole grains are unprocessed foods that are high in complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Since research has shown that diets high in fiber may alter hormonal actions of breast cancer (and other hormone-dependent cancers), you should eat whole grains daily.

Next: Not all fat is the enemy.

Good fats

Avocado

Avocados are a yummy source of healthy fat. | MiMaLeFi/Getty Images

You may have heard to stay away from saturated fats if you have breast cancer, but polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are essential. Found in foods like olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds, the “good fats” will fill you up and give you energy.

Next: Go fishing. 

Salmon and other cold water fish

Fish dish

Grill up a salmon steak tonight! | iStock.com/gbh007

Salmon, herring, and other cold water fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, and they’ve been linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer. If you’re a vegetarian, you can get your omega-3s from walnuts and flaxseeds.

If you have breast cancer, make sure you take good care of yourself by staying hydrated, getting plenty of protein, and avoiding excess alcohol consumption.

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