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Guide to Preventing Breast Cancer   ( Home | Diet | Foods | Recipes )

List of Anti-Breast Cancer Foods (Cont'd)

Discover healthy eats that can help prevent breast cancer! There are a variety of foods that may provide protection against breast cancer thanks to their high concentration of anti-breast-cancer vitamins and phytochemicals such as allicin, beta-glucans, carotenoids, indoles, and vitamin C. Consider adding the following foods to your grocery list if you are looking for a natural way to prevent breast cancer.

Note that this is the second page of a two-page article on anti-breast cancer foods. If you missed the first page of the article, click here.

#12: Garlic

Garlic delivers allicin, a powerful anti-cancer phytochemical.

When garlic is crushed or chopped, it produces a substance called allicin. Allicin, which gives garlic its distinctive odor, has been shown to prevent certain types of cancer, including breast cancer, when consumed regularly. Population studies have also found that countries where the consumption of garlic is high (e.g. Japan, France, China) have a reduced risk of breast cancer. To fully enjoy the anti-cancer effects of garlic, allow crushed or chopped garlic sit for 10 minutes before eating or cooking — this leaves enough time for allicin to form.

#13: Watercress

Watercress is an anti-cancer food par excellence. Research suggests that eating fresh watercress daily can significantly reduce blood cell DNA damage. DNA damage in blood cells is an indicator of a person's overall cancer risk. Further, watercress has been shown to inhibit the activities of matrix metalloproteinase-9, which plays a important role in the metastasis of breast cancer. These inhibitory effects of watercress seem to be attributable to the presence of 7-methylsulphinylheptyl isothiocyanates (MEITCs) and 4-methysulphinylbutyl (sulphoraphane) in watercress. But the breast cancer preventing properties of watercress may go beyond MEITCs and sulphoraphane — watercress is also loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene, and lutein. One study found that consumption of watercress increased study participants' blood levels of lutein and beta-carotene by 100% and 33%, respectively. Watercress is available in larger supermarkets year round, and its peppery leaves are a tasty addition to salads and sandwiches.

#14: Brussels Sprouts

If you can develop a liking for their strong, slightly bitter taste, Brussels sprouts can be a great addition to your anti-breast-cancer diet. These little green veggies contain a number of interesting properties that make them exceptional at reducing the risk of breast cancer. Their most interesting quality: they contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C). I3C, which is released when Brussels sprouts are chopped, crushed, or chewed, has been shown to boost the detoxification of many harmful substances, including carcinogenes, and to have antioxidant activities. I3C may also hinder the overproduction of certain hormones associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

#15: Carrots

You may already know that carrots are good for vision, but did you know that they can also be an excellent nutritional weapon against breast cancer? Carrots are naturally rich in falcarinol — a compound that has been shown to inhibit the development of cancer. Researchers found that rats that had pre-cancerous tumors and that were given carrots were one third less likely to develop full-scale tumors than the rats in the control group. To get the most falcarinol, eat your carrots raw or steamed. If you steam them, it is best to keep them whole during steaming and chop them only afterwards; this helps lock in nutrients such as falcarinol. One study found that carrots that were boiled before cutting contained 25% more falcarinol than carrots that were cut before boiling. (Note: Aside from being an excellent food choice for women concerned about breast cancer, carrots provide a bonanza of other health benefits which are discussed in the article Health Benefits of Eating Carrots).

See Also: 10 Healthy Ways to Eat Carrots

#16: Salmon

Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is an excellent anti-cancer food. Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids — which are often in short supply in Western diets — can inhibit the growth of breast tumors. In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, salmon delivers an abundance of another anti-cancer nutrient: astaxanthin. Astaxanthin, a carotenoid that gives salmon its pink color, is an extremely powerful antioxidant. To get the most astaxanthin, opt for wild salmon – astaxanthin has been reported to be much more concentrated in wild salmon (especially in sockeye salmon) than in farmed salmon. Furthermore, wild salmon contains only low levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), harmful chemicals that are often found in high quantities in farmed salmon. That said, moderation should be the key also in the consumption of wild salmon. Too frequent/high a consumption of salmon and other fish may predispose you to an excessive exposure to certain toxins (e.g. mercury and pesticides). The FDA recommends eating fish twice a week, but not more often. This advice is particularly important for pregnant women and women who are planning to become pregnant because the toxins in fish can impair the neurological development of the unborn baby.

#17: Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms, a staple in Chinese cuisine, can make a great addition to your anti-breast-cancer diet. They are a great source of selenium, with one cup providing more than half of the recommended daily intake for this anti-cancer mineral. Furthermore, shiitake mushrooms are one of the best sources of beta-glucans. According to some human studies, beta-glucans can help fight cancer — including breast cancer — by passing immune cells into the cancerous area and by destroying cancer cells. The anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties of beta-glucans have also been observed in numerous animal tests. Shiitake mushrooms boast a delicious meaty flavor and they are particularly well suited for bringing meatiness to vegetarian dishes.

Fish roe
Fish eggs contain even more omega-3s than fatty fish.

#18: Fish Eggs

A little goes a long way when it comes to fish eggs. Fish eggs are packed with DHA and EPA which are types of omega-3 fatty acids. Ounce for ounce, fish eggs contain even more omega-3s than the fattiest fish. A study, which analyzed the roe of fifteen marine animals, found that the roe of lumpsucker, hake, and salmon were the richest in terms of omega-3 fatty acids.

#19: Prunes

A study, which assessed the antioxidant capacity of a wide range of fresh and dried fruit and vegetables using the so-called Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) methodology, ranked prunes, or dried plums, the #1 food in terms of antioxidant potential. Prunes had more than twice the antioxidant capacity of other high ranking foods such as blueberries and raisins. What's more, preliminary research suggests that the fiber found in prunes may help prevent estrogen dependent breast cancer in pre-menopausal women. (If you're interested in more general information about the effects of prunes on human health, check out the page Health Benefits of Prunes.)

#20: Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are one of the oldest vegetables known to man. They are also one of the most nutritious vegetables and contain plenty of nutrients that may help protect against breast cancer. The pink, orange, and yellow varieties are one of the most concentrated food sources of beta-carotene (the more intense the color, the more beta-carotene), but sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of dietary fiber and vitamin C. What's more, they contain unique root proteins which, according to preliminary studies, may have significant antioxidant properties. In addition, sweet potatoes are typically low in pesticides, even the non-organically grown produce.

#21:  Cherries

Cherries contain a compound called perillyl alcohol (POH), which has been shown to be highly effective at destroying a variety of cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. When buying cherries, it is advisable to opt for organically grown fruit whenever possible. Conventionally grown cherries often contain high levels of pesticides and other chemical compounds.

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For more information on the nutritional approach to preventing breast cancer, see: