Healthy Foods

You can improve your health and reduce your risk of breast cancer and other diseases by eating a healthy diet on a daily basis.

The easiest way to improve your nutrition is to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, just like your mother told you. Vegetables and fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and many other substances, which together account for their beneficial effect. Nutritional supplements can help support a healthy diet but should not replace one.

Current research on fat consumption suggests that it might be the type of fat in the diet, rather than the total amount of fat, that is most important to consider. Still, moderation in all things is best, including your consumption of cream, cheese, oils and butters.

By adopting a healthier lifestyle, you will become healthier and you will provide an excellent role model for the people around you, especially your family.

According to statistics, about 180,000 cancer deaths per year are related to poor diet and lack of physical activity. You can help reduce that number by making a personal commitment to eat better and get moving.

If you like cooking, there is nothing like a new cookbook to inspire you to try new food ideas. The following titles focus on healthy recipes. Check out our Breast Health Bookstore for more suggestions.

Organic Food

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, organically grown food is food grown and processed using no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Pesticides derived from natural sources (e.g., biological pesticides) may also be used in producing organically grown food. Increasingly, some consumers are purchasing organically grown and processed foods as a way to reduce their exposure to synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

According to the Organic Trade Association, many EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. Now, the EPA considers 60% of all herbicides (weed killers), 90% of all fungicides (mold killers), and 30% of all insecticides (insect killers) as potentially cancer causing. Organic farming keeps harmful chemicals and pesticides out of the food we eat and beverages we drink. It also prohibits the use of antibiotics in animal feed, which are routinely used in conventional farming and is known to create dangerous antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Organic farms also benefit the farm workers who have high exposure to chemicals and synthetic pesticides. Organic farming reduces toxic farming runoff and pollutants that contaminate our water, soil and air.

Organic products are required to meet high standards of production. Check to see if the product you are considering has been certified organic.

Last summer, I joined an organic farm food share. At the beginning of the season, I paid my membership. Then, once a week I go and pick up that week's bounty. If it is a good growing season, I get way more than my money's worth. If the weather does not cooperate, I get less and the farmer still gets paid for the hard work. The risk is shared. And I must say, the quality of the food is something. Delicious. I plan to be a lifetime member.

Flaxseed Oil

Breast cancer researchers continue to find links between a woman's estrogen levels and certain types of breast cancer. Further studies have found that naturally occurring compounds called phytoestrogens work to inhibit estrogen production, thereby reducing the incidence of estrogen-linked cancers, such as breast cancer.

Flax seed is especially high in one such phytoestrogen: lignan. Lignins are thought to flush excess estrogen out of the body. Besides anti-tumor properties, lignins also seem to have antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-viral properties.

I personally take both ground flaxseed and flaxseed oil daily. Either can be sprinkled on salad or mixed in with yogurt or other uncooked foods. The taste is mildly nutty.

Besides helping to reduce your risk of breast cancer, flaxseed oil is over 45% omega-3 fatty alphalinolenic acid, which is very important to your health and a high-quality protein to boot. Both seed and oil contribute a rich source of fiber to your diet, too.

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Healthy Foods