As one of the more common forms of cancer prevalent today, it's estimated that as many as one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. Although the overall incidence rate has been decreasing year upon year since the turn of the millennium, it's still estimated that around 40,000 American women will die of breast cancer in the year 2018 alone.
Of course, one of the most high profile cases of breast cancer in recent months concerned Hollywood's Angelina Jolie. The movie star underwent a double mastectomy in 2013 after learning she had a faulty gene that meant she was at a huge risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer at some point in her life.
Angelina Jolie's doctor Dr. Kristi Funk, who is also the founder of the Pink Lotus Breast Centre in California, revealed that diet plays a huge part in helping to prevent breast cancer. Here are just a few dietary changes you can introduce to minimize your risk of breast cancer.
1. Increase your intake of cruciferous vegetables
Including the likes of broccoli, kale or cauliflower, Dr Funk calls cruciferous vegetables the "caped superheroes of the superfoods", and we tend to agree. Do your best to eat these vegetables daily: they contain isothiocyanates, which studies say help to inhibit the development of cancer.
2. Eat some more berries
Although we don't usually need too much prompting to introduce some more berries into our diet - I can't even tell you how many times I've snuck some blueberries into a naughty bowl of ice cream or stack of pancakes. Don't even get me started on raspberries. But there's another, more health-based reason to add some extra berry to your diet. I'll let Dr Funk explain: blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are all examples of “free-radical scavengers”, and once they're all up in your bloodstream? They apparently make "cancer cells commit suicide".
3. Spice things up with some turmeric
We all know turmeric: the yellow-orange spice that's just as good for curries as it is in tea. I hope you've got a few turmeric recipes in your back pocket, as you'll probably be using them quite a lot. Turmeric (and its active ingredient, curcumin) has many health benefits, but multiple studies have linked the spice to the reduction of metastasis (spread of cancer), even helping to kill cancer cells in some cases. Dr Funk says you should at the very least try to get at least a quarter teaspoon a day, activated by black pepper.
4. Try a little Indian Gooseberry
In your attempts to stay ahead of cancer, this little-known berry may be your unexpected savior. According to Dr Funk, Indian Gooseberry is one of the most effective antioxidants out there, sitting at the “tippity top of the antioxidant scale”. Available in both powdered and liquid form, Indian Gooseberry is 75 times more potent than goji berries, so you're going to want to make a little space for it in your life.
5. Make 'much room' for some mushrooms
Whether we're talking sliced up on pizza or as part of a sandwich in its giant, delicious Portobello variety, mushrooms are always useful, and when it comes to fighting cancer, that rings especially true. Dr Funk says they're a really good source of nutrients which are good for preventing breast cancer.
6. Soy is good too
While in the past, soy has been linked rather negatively to the risk of breast cancer, but Dr Funk says that newer studies have set the record straight. For the best chance against breast cancer, get plenty of soy milk, tempeh, tofu, miso and edamame into your system.
7. Buy organic fruits and vegetables (if you eat the skin)
Needless to say, if you want to boost your chances of not getting breast cancer, you're going to want to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. The extra minerals and vitamins will do you the world of good, but if you're one of those people who doesn't peel their apples before chowing down, then be sure to buy organic. Dr Funk says that you should be looking to buy organic as much as possible, but for skin eaters, it's especially vital.
As of January 2018, BreastCancer.org says that as many as 3.1 million women in the United States have had an experience with breast cancer, and that includes Angelina Jolie. With the help of her doctor, Jolie survived, and hopefully by following these tips, your diet can be optimized against breast cancer.