A Healthy Diet & Lifestyle May Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer

beet saladWhile we can’t control all of the risk factors that can cause cancer, such as getting older and being a woman, there are some things we can do that may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer and other types of cancer. Healthy lifestyle choices may help lower your risk of breast cancer as well as your risk of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and osteoporosis. To promote overall health and possibly reduce the risk of breast cancer, everyone should try to:

  • Be physically active (get regular exercise).
  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Choose 100 percent whole grain foods (like 100 percent whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, popcorn and quinoa) more often.
  • Limit red meat and processed meat (choose chicken, fish or beans instead).
  • Cut down on “bad” fats (saturated and trans fats), and eat more “good” fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, like olive oil).
  • Get enough vitamin D and calcium every day. For women and men ages 51 to 70, this means 600 IU of vitamin D and 1,200 mg of calcium. For men ages 51 to 70, this means 600 IU of vitamin D and 1,000 mg of calcium.
  • If you drink alcohol, limit to drink less than one drink of alcohol a day (for women and fewer than two drinks a day for men). Those who drink alcohol should try to get enough folic acid, either through a multivitamin or foods like oranges, orange juice, leafy green vegetables and fortified breakfast cereals.

Adapted from the American Cancer Society’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines [181], Washington University School of Medicine’s Siteman Cancer Center’s Your Disease Risk [210] and Institute of Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D [211].

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