Vegetarians of Washington

Breast Cancer Update

Here’s a bit of news on a large and complicated topic.  Eat your veggies to help prevent breast cancer!

Phytonutrients are powerful when it comes to preventing a variety of diseases, including cancer. Phytonutrients are substances found only in plant foods.  They are neither vitamins nor minerals, but are nevertheless vital for good health. A recent study found that those women with the highest intakes of phytonutrients called carotenoids had a reduced risk of estrogen-positive breast cancer by as much as a third, and a reduced risk of estrogen-negative breast cancer by almost half.

In another study, post-menopausal women with breast cancer who doubled their intake of plant foods, reduced their risk of recurrence of the cancer after treatment by almost 50%. Carotenoids are found abundantly in red, yellow and deeply colored fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and kale.

Not surprisingly, those following a vegan diet have the highest plant food intakes of all. A recent study found that women following a vegan diet had a 34% lower risk of breast cancer, as well as a significantly reduced risk of other female cancers, such ovarian cancer.

Breast cancer is a complicated disease involving other lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and several others. However, diet is also a major factor.  Scientific research has shown again and again that you can give yourself the best chance of avoiding this disease by consuming generous amounts of health-promoting plant foods.