No specific food can cause or prevent breast cancer. However, dietary guidelines may help you reduce your overall breast cancer risk. For example, eating a diet rich in antioxidants can be beneficial. Antioxidants help protect your cells from free radicals. Free radicals are molecules released by toxins, such as tobacco smoke. They not only have been linked to cancer, but also may contribute to premature aging and heart disease.
Making proactive dietary choices has no downside. In addition to potentially reducing your risk for breast cancer, healthy eating can improve your overall well-being: It helps keep your energy up, boost your immune system, and provide nutrients your body needs for maintenance and repair.
If you’re concerned about your risk, talking to a doctor or a dietitian about foods to eat or avoid is a good first step.
Green Tea : Green tea is tied to a number of benefits ranging from weight loss to blood pressure management. The popular brew has also been the subject of ongoing study. That’s because green tea is high in polyphenol and catechins. These antioxidants may help protect cells from DNA damage caused by free radicals.
Pomegranate Juice: Pomegranate juice, which is derived from its seed pulp, also contains polyphenols. One 2009 study suggests that pomegranate juice has the potential to be a preventive tool for certain cancers, including breast cancer.
Berries: Berries, such as blueberries, strawberries, and black raspberries, contain high amounts of polyphenols, which may have anticancer properties. They’re also high in antioxidants, such as vitamin C. There is some evidence that berries may help reduce breast cancer risk.
Dark, leafy green vegetables; The darker the green, the denser the nutrition. Greens are typically high in antioxidants and fiber, which may make them potent anticancer tools.
Popular options include:spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collard, mustard, turnip, and beet greens
Carotenoids: Carotenoids are found in many red, orange, dark green, and yellow fruits and vegetables.
These foods are typically high in vitamin A, lutein, beta carotene and lycopene, all of which might be effective against free radicals. Examples include: carrots, tomatoes, kale, apricots and sweet potatoes.
There’s some data to indicate that diets high in these foods reduce breast cancer risk, but more research is needed. No dosage recommendations currently exist, though daily intake is recommended.
Whole Grains: Whole-grain foods also tend to be high in anticancer polyphenols. They often include other key nutrients, such as fiber, magnesium, and protein.
Popular whole-grain options include: brown rice, oatmeal, corn, farro, barley
Garlic: Part of the allium vegetable family, garlic is known for its distinctive taste and aroma. There may be a connection between increased intake of garlic and other allium vegetables, such as onions, and a reduction in the growth of breast cancer cells.
Researchers in one 2017 study analyzed the effects of garlic and other allium vegetables on breast cancer cells. They found a positive effect on both estrogen-dependent and estrogen-independent breast cancer.
While promising, more research on garlic and breast cancer risk is needed to determine conclusive results and a dosage recommendation.
The bottom line
It’s no secret that what you eat affects your health. Diet and nutrition is an important aspect of preventing and fighting breast cancer. More research is needed to determine where the impact is greatest.