How healthy eating can lower risks of breast cancer

Johannesburg- Breast cancer remains a leading cause of death among South African women.

According to a report released by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, over 27% of new breast cancer cases were recorded in South Africa in 2020.

However, the founder and dietician of Newtricion Wellness, Omy Naidoo, RD, says a healthy diet can reduce the risks of breast cancer.

“Most women in SA, particularly those in rural areas and low-income households cannot access adequate cancer screening facilities. Regular cancer screening, coupled with a healthy diet, may minimize the development of cancerous cells, hence the need for a healthy and balanced diet.”

“Foods such as butter, dairy products, and red meat contain saturated fats. You should limit these, with foods high in sugar and processed foods because they do not contain sufficient fibre, which is scientifically proven to reduce oestrogen production in the body,” says Naidoo.

According to Naidoo, one of the most studied dietary plans worldwide is the Mediterranean diet. This diet comprises foods that can lessen risks and help the body fight against cancerous cells. It consists of fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, fish, and extra virgin olive oil.

Cancer is often caused by oxidized damage because a low-grade inflammation eventually ignites the cancer generation process or worsens it. However, the Mediterranean diet may be beneficial in fighting breast cancer and reducing its risk of development, as it consists of foods that exert anti-inflammatory effects on the body.

“Although breast cancer may be genetically inherited, poor dietary and lifestyle choices such as smoking and alcohol abuse are some of the leading contributing risk factors that people need to be cautious of in the development of breast cancer,” concluded Naidoo.

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