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As we all know, breast cancer is the leading cancer among women in Singapore and it is caused by a multitude of factors including but not restricted to genetics, lifestyle factors and environmental factors. So while there isn't much we can do about our genetic predisposition, we can still control the elements in our lifestyle such as diet and exercise. If that doesn't encourage you to make a lifestyle change, then this fact might.
Health is wealth
According to the latest research by outreach organization breastcancer.org, genetics and family history play a role in about 10 percent of breast cancers. Meanwhile an astonishing 30-40 percent of breast cancer count diet as a major factor. It has also been found that the elements of a healthy lifestyle incorporating both diet and exercise can reduce cancer risk by as much as 38 percent.
So in our effort to make women more aware, we present a list of superfoods you should definitely add into your diet.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and broccoli sprouts contain a special compound, sulforaphane, which helps the body fight the spread of tumours.
Pomegranates which are rich in the anti-inflammatory antioxidant, polyphenols are known for their anti-cancer properties. But recent research shows that they may be especially beneficial against breast cancer due to a phytochemical called ellagitannins, which are found in abundance in pomegranates.
The phytochemical helps because it interfere in the production of aromatase, an enzyme that increases hormone production in the breast.
Berries are rich in antioxidants such as anthocyanins and ellagic acid, which have been shown in cell culture studies to reduce free radical damage to healthy cells. This could help slow the growth of breast cancer cells.
Tomatoes too are rich in the antioxidant lycopene which helps in slowing breast cancer cell growth.
How to incorporate these fruits and veggies into your diet: Toss some cherry tomatoes into your salad or add fresh berries into your plain yoghurt and cereal in the morning. You can also make a vegetable stir fry three or four times a week incorporating broccoli, bok choy and other cruciferous vegetables.
Studies by the American Cancer Society have found that the lignans found in flax slowed the movement of breast cancer cells, causing it to spread more slowly in a cell culture simulation, which is similar to slowing the growth and spread of cancer in the body.
In early research of the effects of walnuts on breast cancer cells, it has been found that including walnuts in a healthy diet throughout the entire lifespan reduced the risk of developing breast cancer by half!
How to incorporate seeds into your diet: Toss a handful of flax seeds into your daily power smoothie for an easy meal on the go. You can even add some chopped walnuts into your favourite baked goods such as brownies or muffins for a yummy and healthy dessert!
It has been found that a molecule called RANKL is present in aggressive breast cancer cells and cucurmin, a compound found in turmeric, could help block and inhibit this deadly molecule.
Garlic is a well known cancer fighting food and could protect against breast cancer.
How to incorporate spices into your diet: This should be easy as most Asian foods use an abundance of spices such as garlic and turmeric. You can also get your daily dosage from garlic supplements available at any health food stores.
There are many well documented health benefits of drinking green tea and slowing the spread of breast cancer cells can be added to it. This is mostly due to green tea being in the polyphenol EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate).
How to incorporate green tea into your diet: With the abundance of bubble tea shops around the island, it is really easy for you to get your green tea fix on the go or at any time of the day. However it is best to drink green tea early in the morning, not only does it help with the prevention of breast cancer, it also promotes a healthy gut.
A creative writer, tutor and full time babysitter to my two year old niece. I picked up writing as an undergraduate at a local university and have not looked back since.
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