Improve Your Chances of Avoiding Breast Cancer with These 7 Foods

Wednesday Nov 26 | BY |
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Black Beans

Studies have found that beans can be powerful protectors against breast cancer.

Studies have already linked a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products with a lower risk of cancer.

But are there certain foods that might pack an even more powerful punch against the disease?

We found seven of them. If you have breast cancer in your family, or other factors that may put you at a higher risk, it may be wise to be sure you’re getting these into your diet on a regular basis.

1. Beans

They’re full of fiber, which may be the key to their power. In a 2009 animal study, the consumption of beans reduced cancer incidence (from 95% to 67%) and the number of tumors from 3.2 to 1.4 per animal. An earlier French study of over 58,000 women also found that beans, along with sesame seeds and flaxseeds, could reduce cancer risk. And a 2005 study in the International Journal of Cancer found that eating beans or lentils at least twice a week could reduce a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer by 24 percent compared to women who ate beans less than once a month. Go for the more colorful options (rather than white beans)—they have more cancer-fighting flavonoids and antioxidants.

2. Mushrooms

Certain phytochemicals in mushrooms can block a certain enzyme from producing estrogen—which can reduce risk of hormone-dependent breast cancers. A 2010 study examined about 360 women with breast cancer and 360 without. They asked them about their intake of mushrooms. Those who ate more mushrooms had a lower risk of breast cancer. Mushrooms are also believed to help boost the immune systems ability to attack developing tumors. A 2013 study found that glucans (sugars found in the cells walls of algae, mushrooms, and some grains) from mushrooms stimulated cells of the immune system and could be potentially used for treating tumors.

3. Blueberries

You know these berries are a great source of antioxidants. Studies have found they may also be perfect for targeting breast cells. A recent 2014 study noted that a blueberry-supplemented diet protected against estrogen-mediated breast cancer. Scientists gave animals programmed to develop cancer a diet with blueberries, and found that the blueberries helped delay the development of breast tumors, and also reduced their volume and ability to replicate.

4. Broccoli

You can add cabbage to this one, as studies have found that both cruciferous veggies can fight breast cancer. A 2010 study reported that “sulforaphane,” a compound in broccoli and broccoli sprouts, targeted and killed cancer stem cells and prevented new tumors from growing. A 2012 study connected eating broccoli and other cruciferous veggies like mustard and turnip greens, cabbage, bok choy, and cauliflower, with improved odds for breast cancer survival. In fact, those who consumed the most were 62 percent less likely to die of breast cancer and 35 percent less likely to experience a recurrence, compared with those who consumed the least. Experts recommend steaming to preserve the cancer-fighting compounds in the veggies.

5. Garlic (and Onions)

It’s time to season up your meals. Garlic helps fight a number of different cancers, but breast cancer is definitely on that list. A 2011 study found that garlic and garlic-derived compounds reduced the development of breast cancer in animals and suppressed the growth of human breast cancer cells in culture. An earlier study tested garlic in humans, and found that the consumption of garlic and onions decreased risk. Other studies reported similar results, and though later studies have pointed garlic more toward stomach and colorectal cancer, this spice remains a good option for those wanting to prevent breast cancer.

6. Pomegranates

Like mushrooms, pomegranates contain compounds that help inhibit hormone-driven breast cancers. A 2010 laboratory study found that the ellagitannins (ET) in pomegranate inhibited breast cancer cell growth, and had potential to prevent estrogen-responsive breast cancers. A later 2012 study found that in addition to inhibiting breast cancer cells, pomegranate juice decreased cancer cell migration without affecting normal cells, and also reduced inflammation and its affect on cancer progression. An earlier 2005 study found similar results, reporting that pomegranate inhibited the growth and killed breast cancer cells.

7. Green tea

You knew this one had to be in here, right? Green tea has stacks of studies behind its anticancer effects, but some of those are focused on breast cancer. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that studies suggest that the polyphenols in green tea inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells. One large study found that women under the age of 50 who consumed three or more cups a day were 37 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than those who didn’t drink green tea. In one study of nearly 500 women who already had breast cancer, researchers found that women who drank the most green tea had the least spread of the cancer. The American Cancer Society makes similar statements, noting that studies have found that those who drink green tea regularly have a lower risk of breast cancer than those who don’t. It seems certain polyphenols in green tea inhibit two proteins that promote tumor cell growth and migration.

Other foods that have also been linked to breast cancer prevention in studies include walnuts (and other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids), sweet potatoes (and other foods rich in beta-carotene), and olive oil.

Do you work these and other breast-cancer foods into your diet in the hopes of preventing disease? Please share your story.

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Emily Courtney, “To protect against breast cancer, eat flaxseeds, sesame seeds, grains, and beans,” Delicious Living, June 1, 2007,

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Jeyabalan J, et al., “Chemopreventive and Therapeutic Activity of Dietary Blueberry against Estrogen-Mediated Breast Cancer,” J Agric Food Chem., April 15, 2014,

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Carina Storrs, “Veggies Like Broccoli, Cabbage May Help Fight Breast Cancer: Study,” HealthDay, April 3, 2012,

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Jeune Ma, et al., “Anticancer activities of pomegranate extracts and genistein in human breast cancer cells,” J Med Food, Winter 2005; 8(4):469-75,

“Green Tea,” University of Maryland Medical Center,

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story

Colleen M. Story, a northwest-based writer, editor, and ghostwriter, has been creating non-fiction materials for individuals, corporations, and commercial magazines for over 17 years. She specializes in the health and wellness field, where she writes and ghostwrites books, e-books, blogs, magazine articles, and more.

Colleen is the founder of Writing and Wellness. Her fantasy novel, “Rise of the Sidenah,” was released with Jupiter Gardens Press in September 2015. Her literary novel, “Loreena’s Gift,” is forthcoming in spring 2016 from Dzanc Books. She lives in Idaho.

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