The Battle Against Breast Cancer: Fighting Back with Food

Fighting Breast CancerAs you may know, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Aside from wearing pink ribbons and donating to charities, how many people are actually truly aware of this horrifying disease that is plaguing America?

So far this year, approximately 290,000 women and 2,250 men have been diagnosed with breast cancer. An estimated 40,000 women and 410 men will die from the diseased by the end of 2013.
While this terrible affliction seems to be on the rise, detection and prevention methods are improving and more lives are saved each day. But it can’t be left in the hands of medical professionals. Fighting back begins with you and what you consume.

While cancer is cancer and cannot be thwarted solely by a diet, by eating right and living a healthier lifestyle, you remove the kindling from the fire. This can be accomplished by eliminating certain items from your diet that hurt more than they help you.

Trans fats
One such item is trans fats. Hydrogenating fat, turning it from a liquid to a solid, creates trans fats. This helps improve shelf life and is more cost effective for companies, which is great for big business but terrible for the consumer.

Charred meat
Eating well-done or charred meat isn’t recommended either. The extended cooking process creates heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These “mutagens” damage DNA, which promotes cancer development. Alternate cooking methods such as stewing or braising are less conducive to the production of HCAs or PAHs.

Avoiding commercially canned products or plastic containers that contain bisphenol A (BPA) is advised. BPAs can alter the way breast cells function, which can significantly promote the development of cancerous cells.

Concrete evidence detailing exactly why alcohol contributes to the production of tumors is not available. Many tests have given varied results but the end is always the same: an increased risk. Limiting the amount of alcohol you ingest is a wise decision for your overall health, period.

Food is not the enemy. There are plenty of healthy options that spur the prospective tide of malignant cells.

Eating fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants (blueberries, plums, peaches, beans, etc) is not only helpful against cancer but also helpful nutritionally. Upping fiber intake through beans, bulgur, peas, dates, artichokes, apples and raspberries keeps your body well maintained.

There is magic in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and virgin coconut oil (VCO). EVOO contains oleic acid. This particular acid (when consumed in appropriate amounts, not excessively) helps improve cell membrane integrity and aids the circulatory system. It has been known to increase brain function and relieve blood pressure issues. VCO has numerous health benefits, from improving liver, kidney, and heart function to detoxification with medium chain fatty acids. In addition to the amazing affect it has on skin, hair and nails, consumption of VCO dramatically bolsters the immune system. Having a strong immune system is the first wall of defense against cancer or any disease for that matter.

Raw milk
It is not recommended for those diagnosed with cancer to consume large amounts of pasteurized dairy products such as cheese and milk. On the flip side, what few people know and understand is that raw milk is ten times better than anything else you could consume when looking to improve your body’s ability to fight back. Tests have proven that those who incorporate raw milk products into their diet have an increased immune system.
Raw milk produced from grass-fed cows, contains high amounts of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). It inhibits the growth of estrogen receptor positive (ER+) and estrogen receptor negative (ER-) breast cancer cells. Not only does it protect against cancer, it also increases the metabolic rate and muscle growth. Those who consume raw organic milk develop breast tissue that is nearly 75% less at risk than others who consume pasteurized, genetically modified dairy products.

Through the grace of God, this world has so much beauty to offer. However, with the good comes the bad such as sickness, famine, and disease. There are measures that can be taken to improve your life but in the end relying solely on medical intervention will decrease the overall quality of it. As you are instructed to don the armor of God each day in defense against evil, so you must practice the same with your body by being healthy, aware and actively engaged.

Crystal Durham is a Certified Journey Baker who studied baking and pastry arts at the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone. She is presently working on a Bachelors degree in Nutrition Sciences. For comments or questions, she can be contacted at [email protected].

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