Breast Health—Tips and Recipes
Next to smoking, your diet is the largest lifestyle factor in determining whether or not you contract cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that 35% of all cancers are related to diet. For women, the correlation between diet and cancer is more prevalent, in that 50% or more of the cancer contracted by women is influenced by diet.
For cancer prevention, ACS recommends a diet high in plant-based foods, that is low in fat and high in fiber. Over and above the dietary recommendations for general cancer prevention, there are specific recommendations for prevention of breast cancer:
• Avoid or minimize consumption of alcohol. Consumption of alcohol is the #1 dietary risk in development of breast cancer.
• Avoid Omega-6 oils, such as soy oil, corn oil, sunflower, safflower oil. These oils break down into components that can lead to breast cancer. When cooking with oil, use monounsaturated oils and oils rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as extra virgin olive oil, nut and/or seed oil (walnut, flaxseed, grapeseed) or canola oil.
• Eat seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
• Incorporate cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower) into your diet. These are particularly adept at preventing breast cancer.
• Mushrooms have been show to halt or slow the growth of abnormal cells within womens’ breasts. Ensure you add mushrooms to salads, sandwiches or even pizza.
• When taking in salads, ensure you eat an abundance of dark leafy greens (collards, kale, spinach). These contain more of breast cancer-fighting phytonutrients.
• When choosing fruits, tend towards citrus, berries and cherries. These fruits contain the most nutrients per calorie, are high in fiber and low in sugar.
• Breast cancer is directly linked to obesity. By maintaining a healthy body weight, you are able to prevent many types of breast cancer.
Spinach Salad with Berries and Flax
Makes four servings.
2 bunches baby spinach, rinsed and dried
1 cup blueberries
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup dried cherries (preferably unsweetned)
1 cup button mushroom, thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin oil
¼ cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons flax seeds
1. In a large bowl, toss together the spinach, berries, cherries and mushrooms.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, both juices, agave nectar, and salt. Pour over the spinach and strawberries, and toss to coat.
3. Divide salad evenly across four chilled plates and top each with 1 teaspoon of flax seeds.
Treatment and Post Treatment
During radiation and chemotherapy, eating foods that promote healing are essential. These include foods rich in antioxidants and low in fat. Many doctors also recommend reducing the amount of common allergic foods, such as wheat, corn, dairy or shellfish, until recovery is complete. Here are some general guidelines to follow during and after breast cancer treatment:
• Lower overall dietary fat to consumption to between 10% to 20% of calories by incorporating naturally low or nonfat foods into your diet.
• Eat small meals more frequently to ensure you get enough calories during recovery without having an upset stomach.
• Eat more plant based protein and eat less animal based protein. Switch in beans and legumes, while reducing meats consumption. This also helps to lower overall dietary fat.
• Drink 8-10 eight ounce glasses of water/day to soften the GI side effects of treatment. Add a few slices of citrus or mint leaves to boost flavor. Alternately, drink herbal tea.
• Drink fewer than 3 servings of alcohol per week
• Eliminate unnatural food ingredients, such as nitrates (found in cured foods and many deli meats and hot dogs), artificial sweeteners, artificial dyes and artificial flavors. Instead have whole fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and meats that you cook yourself.
Spanish Rice with Black Beans
Makes four servings.
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup long-grain brown rice
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoons chile powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 cups water or vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 15-ounce can black beans (or 1 1/2 cups), rinsed and drained well
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 cups baby spinach or frozen greens, defrosted and drained
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. Heat oil in a large, oven-proof saucepot on medium-high heat. When hot, add onion and cook, stirring, until the onion becomes translucent. Add garlic and spices and cook 30 seconds. Add rice and cook for another minute or two. 3. Add the water or stock and salt. Bring to a boil, and top with beans, without stirring beans into the rice. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Bake for 45 minutes and remove from oven
4. Remove cover and fluff rice with fork, gently working around beans.
5. Add the green onions and spinach, re-cover, and bake dishfor 5 more minutes. Stir well to combine.
Mediterranean Baked Salmon
Makes four servings.
2 cups thinly sliced broccoli rabe (may substitute broccoli)
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
2 teaspoons snipped fresh oregano (may substitute 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
4 cloves garlic, halved
4 4-6 ounce salmon filets, about 3/4 inch thick
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 teaspoons olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. In a large bowl combine broccoli rabe, mushrooms, orange peel, oregano, garlic and ½ teaspoon salt. Toss gently.
3. Tear off four 24-inch pieces of 18-inch-wide heavy foil. Fold each in half to make four 18×12-inch pieces. Divide vegetables among the four pieces of foil, placing vegetables in center of each piece.
4. Pat salmon dry on both sides with paper towels. Season each side with remaining salt and black pepper.
5. Place a salmon filet on top of each portion of vegetables. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the oil over each piece of salmon.. Bring together two opposite edges of foil and seal with a double fold. Fold remaining ends to completely enclose the food, allowing space for steam to build. Place the foil packets in a single layer on a baking pan.
4. Bake for 30 minutes or until broccoli rabe is tender and fish begins to flake. Open carefully to allow steam to escape. Transfer the packets to individual plates.
Mixed Berry Smoothie
Makes two servings.
1 cup orange juice
2 cups plain, low-fat yogurt (or almond milk)
3/4 cup raspberries
3/4 cup blackberries
3/4 cup blueberries
honey or agave nectar to taste
1 cup ice cubes
Place all the ingredients in a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth.
Note: If you cannot use both servings when you make the smoothie, freeze the second portion and enjoy another day.