Lifestyle Changes Cut Breast Cancer Risk
Researchers Say Exercise and Diet May Prevent Some Cases of Breast Cancer
WebMD News Archive
Lose Weight to Lower Risk of Breast Cancer continued...
The joint report recommends that women stay as lean as possible without
being underweight to lower their breast cancer risk.
Other recommendations include:
Get moving: Women should engage in physical activity for at least 30
minutes a day, every day. According to the National Cancer Institute, women can
reduce their risk of dying from breast cancer by 25% if they remain physically
Limit alcohol: Women who drink alcohol should limit their
consumption to no more than one drink a day.
Breastfeed: New mothers should breastfeed their infants exclusively
for up to six months and then add other liquids and foods. There is convincing
evidence that breastfeeding lowers breast cancer risk.
Eat healthy foods: The report recommends avoiding junk foods,
limiting red meat and salt, and making fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole
grains the mainstays of a healthy diet.
Nutritionist Colleen Doyle, RD, of the American Cancer Society, tells WebMD
that although no single food, food group, or nutrient has been shown to lower
breast cancer risk, it is clear that eating a healthy, mostly plant-based diet
A red meat and processed meat-heavy diet is now known to increase the risk
for colorectal cancer, and there is some suggestion that these foods increase
breast cancer risk as well.
Doyle says the research attempting to target the role of single foods, food
group, or nutrient in breast cancer has largely been a bust.
"Years ago, we recommended limiting all fats and that evolved into limiting
saturated fats," she says. "Now we have moved away from specific food-based
recommendations to focusing on an overall dietary pattern stressing a wide
variety of mostly plant-based foods."
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) also recommends a mostly
plant-based diet to lower cancer risk. To promote the idea, the group has
developed what it calls the "new American plate" to replace the more
traditional meal that has meat as its main component and refined starches as a
AICR nutritionist Alice Bender, RD, tells WebMD that at least two-thirds of
the "new" plate should be plant-based, including vegetables, fruits, whole
grains, or beans; no more than one-third of any meal should come from animal protein.
"This is an easy way to visualize what a healthy diet should look like," she
says. "It's really pretty simple."